Pablo Picasso's 1932 painting of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter sold Tuesday at Sotheby's of London for 28.6 million pounds ($44.9 million).

The work, "Femme assise pres d'une fenetre," was the star of a session dedicated to impressionist and modern art that opened the auction season in the British capital.

Before the bidding opened, the work had been valued at between 25 million and 35 million pounds ($39.2 million to $55 million).

The "Femme assise" sold for $7.5 million the last time it was on the market, in 1997.

This Picasso canvas fell far short of the 2010 bidding in New York for his work "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," which sold for a then-record $111.3 million.

Picasso saw Marie-Therese for the first time on the streets of Paris in 1927 when she was only 17, and they began a love affair though the Spaniard was still married to Olga Khokhlova.

Also sold in the Tuesday auction at Sotheby's was the painting by another Spaniard, the Joan Miro work "Femme revant de l'evasion," knocked down for 8.4 million pounds ($13.2 million). EFE