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Art for money's sake: Portugal aims to recoup debt

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February 4, 2014 04:13 AM EST | AP


LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal is hoping a master of surrealism can help taxpayers recoup some of the millions they lost rescuing a failed bank.

The government is selling 85 works by Spanish artist Joan Miro that became public property when Banco Portugues de Negocios was nationalized in 2008.

Christie's in London, which is handling the sale, describes the collection as "one of the most extensive and impressive offerings of works by the artist ever to come to auction."

The trove is valued at around 36 million euros ($48 million).

The auction has stirred controversy, however, and a Lisbon judge is still weighing the main opposition Socialist Party's request for an injunction to stop the sale.

The auction begins Tuesday evening and continues Wednesday.