Picasso Masterpiece Sells for Record $179 Million

By Zahra Al-Kateb

(This article originally appeared on Spear’s)

women-of-algiers-after-delacroix-1955Picasso’s Women of Algiers has become the most expensive painting to sell at auction, going for $179 million at Christie’s in New York.

The masterpiece broke records in spectacular style, surpassing Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which previously sold for $139 million in 2013, also at Christie’s.

Women of Algiers had been expected to exceed $139 million before the auction, but the final price far exceeded Christie’s expectations. Several bidders competing via telephone eventually drove the winning bid to just over $179 million. The buyer is anonymous as is the seller who is a mysterious European collector.

The vibrant artwork is an oil painting and features cubist depictions of scantily clad women, one of which is believed to be Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque.

The artwork was offered in Looking Forward to the Past, an array of pieces selected for their connection to a central theme of artistic innovation inspired by the past. The popular exhibition saw 15,000 visitors view the pre-sale display at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries over the last 10 days, and the evening saw participation from a diverse group of clients representing over 35 different countries.