Picasso - Les Femmes d’Alger

Pablo Picasso
Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”)
Sold for $179,365,000 (£116,395,198/€160,276,188)

Alberto Giacometti - L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man)

Alberto Giacometti
L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man)
Sold for $141,285,000 (£91,683,971/ €126,248,829)

Picasso, Giacometti smash records at Christie's auction

Christie’s 'Looking Forward to the Past' auction achieved $705,858,000, highlighted by Picasso’s 'Les femmes d’Alger, Version O' from 1955, which sold for $179,365,000 (auction record for a work of art) and Giacometti’s 'L’homme au doigt', sold for $141,285,000 (auction record for a sculpture)

May 12, 2015, source: Christie’s

Christie’s innovative Evening Sale "Looking Forward to the Past", achieved $705,858,000 (£458,051,914/ €630,737,486) with sell-through rates of 97% by lot and 99% by value. New world auction records were set for 10 works of art during the sale, including Picasso’s "Les femmes d’Alger, Version O" from 1955, which sold for $179,365,000 (£116,395,198/€160,276,188), and became the most valuable work of art ever sold at auction. Later in the sale, Giacometti’s "L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man)" conceived in 1947 achieved $141,285,000 (£91,683,971/ €126,248,829), setting a new record for any sculpture sold at auction. Of the 35 works offered, 2 lots sold for over $100 million, 3 for over $50 million, 9 lots for over $20 million, 12 lots for over $10 million, and 29 lots over $1 million.

Twenty minutes in the sale, auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen, Global President of Christie’s, dropped the gavel on a new world auction record for the most valuable work of art sold at auction. Pablo Picasso’s 1955 masterpiece "Les femmes d’Alger, Version O" sold for $179.4 million after 11 and ½ minutes of bidding to a client on the phone with Brett Gorvy, International Head, Post-War and Contemporary Art. Several clients chased the work from its starting bid of $100 million, trading at least 30 bids in increments of $1 million until it reached its final hammer price of $161 million. The sale marks the second time that Christie’s has sold this particular Picasso painting; in 1997, it was offered from the celebrated Ganz collection and sold for US$31.9 million against an estimate of $10-12 million.

Christie’s New York broke its own record with the sale of the Picasso. The previous record for any work of art sold at auction was $142.4 million, set in 2013 for Francis Bacon’s "Three Studies of Lucian Freud". Christie’s also broke its own record for the most valuable work by Picasso ever sold at auction. The previous record was set in 2010 with the sale of the artist’s "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" from 1932 for $106.5 million.

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