Picasso’s Women of Algiers sale sets world record

Women of Algiers was inspired by Picasso's fascination with the 19th-century French artist Eugene Delacroix. Picture: SWNS
Women of Algiers was inspired by Picasso's fascination with the 19th-century French artist Eugene Delacroix. Picture: SWNS
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A Picasso painting set a world record for artwork at auction, selling for £115 million, while a work by Alberto Giacometti became the most expensive sculpture, at £90.7m.

Picasso’s Women Of Algiers (Version O) and Giacometti’s life-size Pointing Man were among dozens of masterpieces from the 20th century that Christie’s offered in a sale entitled Looking Forward to the Past.

Christie’s global president, Jussi Pylkkanen, who acted as auctioneer, said the two pieces are outstanding works of art.

“I’ve never worked with two such beautiful objects,” he said.

The Picasso and the Giacometti prices included the auction house’s premium. The buyers elected to remain anonymous.

Overall, 34 of 35 lots sold at Monday night’s packed New York auction for a total of £453m.

Experts say the prices were driven by artworks’ investment value and by wealthy collectors seeking out the very best works.

“I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” Manhattan dealer Richard Feigen said.