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Picasso's young muse makes a public appearance

Marie-Thérèse was only 17 years old when, stepping off the Paris Metro one day in 1927, she was approached by a stranger and told: "I am Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together!"

Great, yes, but also controversial; she was rather young, and he was married. For the next four years the Parisian girl appeared in several of his works but only in coded form.

Then, in 1932, Picasso painted his muse in La Lecture, pictured. Now the portrait of the young woman who transformed both his life and his art will go on sale at Sotheby's in London next Tuesday, and is expected to fetch between £12m and £18m.

Also forming part of the sale are some of the 100 million individually painted sunflower seeds brought to Tate Modern by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei last year, to be exhibited in the museum's Turbine Hall. Access was restricted, owing to the dust given off as people frolicked among them.