Pola Negri with her lover and fellow screen star Rudolph Valentino, a painting by by Federico Beltran Masses which is offered at Bonhams.

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Among the lots on offer at the 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art sale is a painting of film actress Pola Negri with her lover and fellow screen star Rudolph Valentino.

The duo met at a costume party and, according to Negri’s memoirs, became lovers after their second meeting. They remained so for a year, until Valentino’s untimely death from peritonitis in 1926 at the age of just 31.

Negri, who claimed to be engaged to him at the time of his death, fainted over his coffin, before escorting his body back to California by train.

The 5ft 4in x 4ft 3in (1.62 x 1.3m) oil on canvas was painted by Federico Beltran Masses (1885-1949), an artist who was born in Cuba but spent his childhood in Barcelona, studying at the Escola de la Llotja under Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida.

He became known as a portrait painter of the rich and famous, and had a penchant for women who attracted scandal.

Estimate £10,000-15,000.

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