The painting "Les Femmes d'Alger" fetched $179.4 million at the auction
A vibrant multi-colored art piece of Pablo Picasso has sold for $179.4 million, setting a new record for most expensive artwork ever to be bought at an auction. The previous record was held by Francis Bacon’s triptych ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud, clinching a deal of $142.4 million in November 2013.
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Picasso’s 1955 painting “Women of Algiers” was among dozens of those masterpieces which were up for the auction at Christie on Monday night. The painting was projected to be sold for more than $155 million and was expected to break the all-time record for most ever paid artwork at an auction.
Before the auction begins, Jussi Pylkkanen, the global president of Christie already labeled it as “a sale to remember”.
“From the auctioneer’s rostrum it has become clear that many new global collectors chasing masterpieces have been waiting for an iconic Picasso to appear on the market. None is more iconic than Les Femmes d’Alger (Women of Algiers).”
“We saw tremendous competition, with five major collectors bidding at $120 million level. The market has certainly changed dramatically.” Pylkkanen said after the record selling of the painting. According to Reuters, bidders came from more than 35 countries and several were bidding via telephone; however, the name of the actual buyer was remained anonymous.
A sculpture by Alberto Giacometti went for $141.3 million, becoming the most expensive sculpture ever. Overall 35 pieces of art were placed at the auction and 34 of them sold out, collectively making $706 million at the auction entitled “Looking Forward to the Past.”
The Picasso's painting was last auctioned in 1997 where it went for $31.9 million nearly double what was estimated before the sale. It is believed that Picasso painted “Women of Algiers” to pay a tribute to his artist friend Henri Matisse who died in 1854.
The auction will continue tomorrow as well with Sotheby’s fine and decorative art will be displayed for the auctioneers.