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Picasso sets Auction Record at Christie’s

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Yesterday, May 11, Christie’s played host to “One of the greatest moments in auction history,” when global president Jussi Pylkkänen presided over a sale that brought in $705,858,000 for just 34 lots. The event, titled Looking Forward to the Past, comprised several quality pieces, including a Claude Monet Houses of Parliament sunset scene, and broke several records for separate artists and for most expensive sculpture sold at auction (Alberto Giacometti’s L’Homme au Doigt).

However, the crown jewel of the collection was Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘0’), which brought in a whopping $179,365,000, making it the most expensive Picasso and work of art ever sold at auction.

PICASSO FEMMES D'ALGER © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso  Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Les Femmes d’Alger by Pablo Picasso


Firmly putting the days of paddle waving and shouting figures in the past, most of the bidding took place by house reps over their phones, the most exciting moment when Christie colleagues Gouzer and Gorvey battled over the Picasso, with their billionaire buyers lobbing figures in their ears. Attendees raised their phone cameras ready to film the deciding moment every time the gavel threatened to fall for Les Femmes. The painting eventually went to Gorvy, who was forced to raise Gouzer’s proposed $159.5 million by $500,000 for the win.

This sale is the latest in a high-money streak for Christie’s, who in 2013 sold the second most expensive work of art sold at auction (topped by the Picasso) Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud.

Houses of Parliament by Claude Monet

Other works of art available in the sale included: Urs Fischer’s cast-wax sculpture of Rudolf Stingel (2011); Picasso’s Buste de Femme (Femme à la Résille) (1938); Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Attese (1965); Cady Noland’s steel cutout Bluewald (1989); and pieces by Chaim Soutine, Peter Doig, and Jean Dubuffet. The only buy-in was an untitled hanging mobile by Alexander Calder.

For information about Christie’s upcoming auctions go to:




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