A painting by Pablo Picasso has set a new world record for the most expensive artwork to be sold at auction after reaching $ 179 million in New York.
Women of Algiers (Version O) had been expected to exceed $ 140 million before the auction but the final price far exceeded those estimates in a sale at Christie’s auction house at a time when collectors’ appetite for masterpieces of impressionist, modern and contemporary art is increasing.
Previously the most expensive work sold at auction was Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which sold for $ 142.4 million at Christie’s in November 2013.
Experts say the prices are driven by artworks’ investment value and by wealthy new and established collectors seeking out the very best works.
Picasso’s work is a vibrant, multi-hued painting featuring a scantily attired woman amid smaller nudes. The evening sale also featured Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture Pointing Man which reached estimated $ 141 million, earning it the title of most expensive sculpture sold at auction.
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