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Picasso, Warhol among highlights at Christie's first own-branded auction in mainland China

Christie's is drawing the elite of China closer into its orbit with an auction of works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and others in Shanghai.

It's the first time any foreign auction house has held such a sale on the mainland without having to go through intermediaries.

The London auction house is putting 42 pieces under the hammer in China's financial hub Thursday, with bidding expected to raise around $16?million.

Along with Pablo Picasso's 1969 Homme Assis, Andy Warhol's 1980-81 Diamond Dust Shoes and a 1963 still-life by Giorgio Morandi, items include works of Asian contemporary art and fine wines.

China, the world's second largest economy, already has more than 1 million U.S. dollar millionaires, many of whom are seeking to diversify their investments.