This Picasso Just Became the Most Expensive Work of Art Ever Auctioned

4628 People Viewed - about 41 months ago Culture

Pablo Picasso would be a happy man if he were alive today.

A bold and colorful painting by Picasso just became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction — at an eye-popping $160 million.

And that doesn't count the commission paid to auction house Christie's, which adds another $19.35 million for a total of $179.35 million. 

Pre-auction estimates said the painting would go for a mere $140 million, so you can bet Christie's is pretty happy today.

The multimillionaire buyer's identity? Still unknown. 

The cubist painting, created in 1955, was part of a special sale at Christie's called "Looking Forward to the Past." The entire lot was expected to bring in a total of more than $500 million.

Previously, the most expensive artwork sold at auction had been Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," which Christie's sold for $142.4 million in 2013.

"Les Femmes d'Alger" — known as "version O" to distinguish it from the 14 previous paintings Picasso made with this name — was last sold at auction in 1997 for $31.9 million. And again, the buyer was anonymous

That means someone just made a tidy profit in the realm of $130 million, simply for holding on to one of the 20th century's greatest works of art for 18 years. In your face, Apple shareholders.

Meanwhile, this sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, a Swiss artist and contemporary of Picasso's, sold for another record — $140 million.

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