One of Picasso’s paintings sold for an unprecedented $179.4 million at Christie’s New York, the auction house announced.
It broke the record and became the highest selling painting ever at auction. The painting is called Les Femmes d’Alger, or Women of Algiers.
Pablo Picasso painted the piece in part of a 15-work series in 1954-1955. It has appeared in multiple museum exhibitions. The painting is oil-on-canvas featuring such colors as lively reds, vivid yellows and dynamic blues. Picasso cited a painting by Eugene Delacroix made in 1834, which featured women in a harem smoking from a hookah pipe, as inspiration.
I must admit that I find Picasso’s painting rather bizarre and wouldn’t have thought it would have been more than $50 million; but I’m no art aficionado and do acknowledge that, of course, it is painted by one of art’s most influential people. The previous selling of the painting was a much lower $31.9 million by Christie’s, back in 1997.
This painting broke the old record by over $35 million, as Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.4 million in 2013.
While Women of Algiers has the record for the highest selling painting ever at auction, it isn’t the most expensive painting ever sold in general – meaning from a private collection and not in an auction setting.
The title for the most expensive painting ever sold goes to French-impressionist Paul Gauguin’s painting of two Tahitian women, Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?) for a whopping $300 million. It was believed to have been bought by a Qatari buyer from a Swiss private collection. Good luck reaching that number, Picasso!