Picasso piece sets new world record for artwork auction

A world record has been set for artwork at an auction. A vibrant, multi-hued Picasso sold for $179.4 million on Monday evening.

A record was also set for the most expensive sculpture at $141.3 million for a piece by Alberto Giacometti. The buyers chose to remain anonymous.

Picasso’s “Woman of Algiers (Version O)”and Giacometti’s life-size sculpture “Pointing Man” were among dozens of priceless 20th century pieces being sold at Christie’s latest sale titled, “Looking Forward to the Past.”

During the course of the evening, 34 of 35 lots sold at Monday’s auction, totaling $706 million. Experts say the high prices were driven by the investment value of the pieces by wealthy collectors seeking the very best.

“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.

Impressionist and modern artworks continue to corner the market because “they are beautiful, accessible and a proven value,” added Sarah Lichtman, professor of design history and curatorial studies at The New School.

“I think we will continue to see the financiers seeking these works out as they would a blue chip company that pays reliable dividends for years to come,” she said.

The famous Picasso piece, Woman of Algiers, was once owned by American collectors Victor and  Sally Ganz. It is part of a 15-work series Picasso created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A through O.

Previous to Monday’s new world record, the most expensive artwork sold at auction was “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” by Francis Bacon for $142.3 million in 2013.