Christie’s has broken the world record for any work of art sold at auction selling Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les femmes d’Alger’ (Version O)’ for a final hammer price of $179,365,000.
The 1955 painting was last sold in 1997 in the sale of the Collection of Victor and Sally Ganz at Christie’s, when it reached $31.9 million after being estimated to sell for only $10 million to $12 million.
The previous record for any work of art sold at auction was Francis Bacon’s ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ which sold in 2013 for $142.4 million also at Christie’s New York.
Christie’s already held the record for a work by Picasso for $106,482,496 for Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (1932), at Christie’s New York in 2010.
The vividly coloured painting is one a series of 15 that Picasso created inspired by ‘Les femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement’ a work by Eugène Delacroix which is currently on display in the Louvre.
“The Picasso was a masterpiece, which proves the trend of ultra-high-net-worth individuals seeking quality artworks,” said Olyiva Kwok, managing partner of Willstone Management. “There were more than 45 bids on it – that’s a strong and solid market.”
Christies did give a public estimate for the painting. It had also guaranteed the sale.
All together the sale brought in $705.8 million with a 97% sell through rate by lot and 99% sold by value. In the sale 10 works set new records, with two lots selling over $100 million, three for over $50 million and nine over $20 million. Only six of the 35 works in the sale sold for under $1 million. The works were dated between 1901 and 2011 with over 70% of them having previously been on display in major museums or exhibitions.
Alberto Giacometti’s 1947 life size sculpture ‘L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man)’ also sold for a record price, becoming the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction. The figurative metal bronze work sold for $141,285,000 breaking the existing record for Giacometti’s work.