The dust has well and truly settled on what was a predictably busy year at Christie’s, which attracted plenty of cash for some of the world’s finest pieces of art.
A hugely successful year for the auctioneering giant saw several high-profile sales. Here are the top three works sold during 2015.
This was the undoubted highlight, not just for Christie’s, but for the art world as a whole, setting a new world record for the most valuable work of art sold at auction, beating the $142 million set by Fracis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” in 2013.
The sale also exceeded the expectations of many analysts and experts, many of whom had predicted it would fetch $140 million.
The last time the piece went on sale was in 1997, when it reached $31.9 million.
Such a large price tag should not really come as much of a surprise given that very few works by Picasso are currently in private hands. “Les Femmes d’Alger”, which translates to “The Woman of Algiers” is also considered to be a contemporary masterpiece, exhibiting Picasso’s signature cubist style.
It was not until November 9th that any competition for Picasso’s masterpiece really emerged, with Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché,” being purchased by Chinese taxi-driver-turned-millionaire-art-collector Liu Yiqian.
Liu’s pursuit of priceless artworks has earned him something of a reputation within various circles, having placed many of his purchased works within his group of Shanghai-based museums.
Acquiring this piece, however, was by no means an easy task, with a protracted bidding process leading to a drawn out bidding process, with buyers seemingly undeterred by the high presale estimate.
While many of the headlines relating to the day’s auction will rightfully surround the sale of Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger,” Giacometti’s masterpiece became the most expensive sculpture ever when it was sold for just over $141 million.
The sale marked a new chapter in the history of the piece, having previously been under private ownership for 45 years.
This work, which translates to “Pointing Man”, has always been highly admired by experts, many of whom believe it to be the only piece to have been painted by hand.
The success of the sale saw it eclipse that of another work by Giacometti, “L’Homme qui Marche I”, which was sold for $104.3 million in 2010 – also a record price for a sculpture at the time.