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Rediscovered painting

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London (dpa) - A restored masterpiece by Titian found in a London garage at the end of World War II is to be sold at auction after undergoing 20 years of restoration, auction house Christie's said in London Friday.

"Portrait Of A Lady And Her Daughter" is expected to fetch more than 5 million pounds (9.2 million dollars) when it goes under the hammer on December 8.

The painting has an extraordinary history, Christie's said at its presentation Friday.

Begun in the 1550s, it was painted over and went undiscovered for 400 years.

Titian never completed the work, which is believed to show his daughter Emilia and one of his granddaughters.

Following his death in 1576, the canvas was reworked by one of his pupils.

The lady was given wings and turned into the Archangel Raphael, while her daughter was given a male hairstyle to become Tobias.

The resulting painting was called "Tobias And The Angel" and came to be housed in the famous Barbarigo Collection in Venice.

The collection was sold in 1850 to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and by the 1920s the painting had found its way into the hands of renowned French art dealer Rene Gimpel.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Gimpel joined the French Resistance and sent his pictures to hiding places in London to avoid confiscation, revealing their location to no one.

Gimpel was captured by the Nazis and sent to the Neuengamme labour camp, where he died in 1944.

His sons, who also fought for the French Resistance, eventually tracked down the pictures.

The Titian, along with many other paintings, was discovered in a garage in Bayswater, west London in 1946.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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