This Picasso Has Smashed a Huge Record

'Women of Algiers' fetches nearly $180M, most expensive work sold at auction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2015 12:02 AM CDT
Picasso Painting Smashes Auction Record
Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen talks about Pablo Picasso's "Women of Algiers."   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The world record price for a work of art sold at auction went up by nearly $40 million when Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers (Version O) sold for an amazing $179.4 million last night. The 1955 painting—described by the BBC as a "vibrant, cubist depiction of nude courtesans"—was part of a Christie's sale called "Looking Forward to the Past" that also saw Alberto Giacometti's life-size Pointing Man set the record for most expensive sculpture at $141.3 million, the AP reports. Both record-breaking prices include the auction house's commission of around 12%.

The previous record for a painting sold at auction was set in 2013 when Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.5 million. Experts believe that the strong interest in 20th-century artworks will see prices continue to reach dizzying levels for years to come. "I think we will continue to see the financiers seeking these works out as they would a blue chip company that pays reliable dividends," a professor of design history and curatorial studies at the New School tells the AP. The identities of the Picasso seller and the person who bought it after 11 minutes of bidding have not been disclosed, CNBC reports. (Here's another recent instance of "$180 million" making headlines.)

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