History was made in the art world last night. There is a new record holder for priciest work ever sold at auction and that distinction belongs to Nude, Green Leaves and Bust by Pablo Picasso. The 1932 painting sold for $106,482,500 (after auction fees were accounted for) to an unidentified phone bidder at Christie’s.
The sale brings huge publicity, hope, and optimism to the start of the auction season. This is a defining moment that many will point to as evidence of confidence in the art market. However, does this sale mean anything in the broader picture or is it simply one ultra-wealthy collector adding another prestigious work to his/her art collection and doing so at any price? Opinions will abound, but we will get the answer after the whirlwind auction season ends. Over the next two weeks, art auctions in New York could total an astronomical $1.2 billion in sales.
More after the jump…
Other highlights from last night (info via Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff):
- Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was purchased by Brody in 1950 for $17,000 at New York’s Paul Rosenberg and Co.
- Alberto Giacometti’s bust “Tete” sold for $53.3 million, about double the estimate
- George Braque’s “La Treille” sold for $10.2 million, a record for the artist. It went to the same buyer who purchased Nude, Green Leaves and Bust
- All 27 lots from the Brody estate sale sold. The total sum? $224.2 million
- There was one major flop last night: Edvard Munch’s “Fertility,” which was estimated to sell for as high as $35 million, found no bidders