Many of the world's super-rich love their art, and a few of them choose to invest in a glowingly competitive market. And the recent record breaking auction at Christies confirms that, an unidentified buyer bid by phone $179.4 Million for a painting by Pablo Picasso, ‘Les Femmes d’Alger, making it the most valuable piece of art ever sold at auction. That toppled the former record of $142.4 million paid for Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucien Freud”, which had stood since November 2013.
The Picasso sale was a highlight in Christie’s “Looking Forward to the Past” sale, featuring works spanning over 100 years of the Modernist style. Beating all expectations, the evening realized $706 million, a landmark in what the auction-house called a ‘new era’ for an art market, in which a growing circle of elite private investors chase inevitably scarce masterpieces.
If the Picasso was slightly out of your reach perhaps one of the other three pieces which sold for over $50 million or the nine at over $20 million and 12 at over $10 million. The auction totaled a sum of $705.9 million by the end. Lots included a sunset view of the Houses of Parliament by the Claude Monet and a Mark Rothko work, ‘No. 36 Black Stripe’, both of which went for over $40 million.
Now do you wish you had been one of over 15,000 people who had viewed the pre-sale exhibition at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, or perhaps been bidding at the auction? Not to worry the next auction is just months away.... although you may pay a few million more to wait.