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Picasso painting smashes auction record selling for $179.4 mln in N.Y.

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May 11 (Reuters) - A Picasso painting smashed the record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction on Monday when it soared to $179.4 million at Christie's.

The auction house had estimated the 1955 cubist oil "Les femmes d'Alger (Version "O")" would sell for about $140 million, but several bidders competing via telephone drove the winning bid to $160 million, for a final price of $179,365,000 including Christie's commission of just over 12 percent.

Previously the most expensive work sold at auction was Francis Bacon's triptych "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," which sold for $142.4 million at Christie's in November 2013. (Reporting by Chris Michaud in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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