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Auction records Giacometti sculpture breaks world record



Giacometti's “L’homme au doigt” (Pointing man), which has been sold for $141.3 million (CHF132 million), a world record for a sculpture

Giacometti's “L’homme au doigt” (Pointing man), which has been sold for $141.3 million (CHF132 million), a world record for a sculpture

(Keystone)

“L’homme au doigt” (Pointing man), a 1947 sculpture by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), has set a world record for a sculpture. The bronze figure sold for $141.3 million (CHF132 million) in New York on Monday night. 

This was in line with the pre-sale estimate of about $130 million. Auction house Christie’s did not reveal the buyer of the 1.78-metre sculpture.

The previous record of $104.3 million had been held by Giacometti’s "L’Homme qui marche I” (Walking man) since 2010. 

Giacometti now appears three times in the top ten list of the most expensive piece of art ever sold (see box). 

It was a record-breaking night for auction house Christie’s. An oil painting from 1955 by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) smashed the record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction when it soared to $179.4 million. 

The auction house had estimated “Les femmes d’Alger (Version O)” would sell for about $140 million, but several bidders competing via telephone drove the winning bid to $160 million, for a final price of $179,365,000 including Christie’s commission of just over 12%. 

The buyer of the vibrant cubist work was not identified. 

The most expensive work of art previously sold at auction had been Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”, which sold for $142.4 million at Christie’s in November 2013. 

“We saw tremendous competition, with five major collectors bidding at the $120 million level,” said Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president who also served as auctioneer. “The market has certainly changed dramatically.” 

Christie’s said active bidders came from 35 countries, with European and Asian collectors in particular competing with Americans for the top-tier works.

Most expensive works of art ever

1. Pablo Picasso, "Les Femmes d’Alger (version 0)" sold for $179 million at Christie's New York on May 11 2015.

2. Francis Bacon, "Trois études de Lucian Freud", tryptic sold for $142 million at Christie's New York on November 12 2013.

3. Alberto Giacometti, "L'Homme au doigt", sculpture sold for $141 million at Christie's New York on May 11 2015.

4. Edvard Munch, "The Scream", painting sold for $119 million at Sotheby’s New York on May 2 2012.

5. Pablo Picasso, "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust", sold for $106 million at Christie's New York on May 4 2010.

6. Andy Warhol, "Silver Car crash (double disaster)" sold for $105 million at Sotheby's New York on November 13 2013.

7. Pablo Picasso, "Boy with a Pipe", sold for $104 million at Sotheby's New York on May 5 2004.

8. Alberto Giacometti, "L'homme qui marche I", sculpture sold for $103 million at Sotheby's London on February 3 2010.

9. Alberto Giacometti, "Chariot" sculpture sold for $100 million at Sotheby's New York on November 4 2014.

10. Pablo Picasso, "Dora Maar with Cat", sold for $95 million at Sotheby's New York on May 3 2006.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies


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