Rare Picassos Big Draw at Basle

Rare works by painter Pablo Picasso were a top draw for collectors and investors at the art world's biggest annual fair of modern and contemporary works which opened to the public on Wednesday. Buyers were purchasing canvases by Chinese and Japanese painters, as well as big-scale "project" works. The four day Art Basel, now in its 37th year, is often dubbed the "El Dorado" of the art business and there is fierce competition among galleries - and artists - to be selected to set up shop there. After a special viewing for professionals and invited guests on Tuesday, officials said one of the Picasso's -- "Reclining Nude" from 1971 -- priced at $12 million by a Zurich gallery, had been reserved by a French agent. A huge acrylic canvas from the studio of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, completed only two weeks before the fair and with a tag of $1.5 million, also sold quickly. For the full story - click the title Irish Art