Picasso Women of Algiers – Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold At Auction
The art world achieved a new record on Monday night, as the painting Women of Algiers (Version O) by Pablo Picasso sold at Auction for $179 million at Christie’s in New York.
While the auctioneers at Christie’s expected the piece to reach the $140 million mark, they were astounded when competing bids from several patrons drove the painting’s value past the previous world record holder, Francis Bacon‘s Three Studies of Lucien Freud, which had sold for $142.4 million in 2013.
Experts at Christie’s say that the world-record setting price was the result of the combination of renewed interest in Modernist works in recent years, as well as an influx of bids by new, younger collectors. Professor Sarah Lichtman, of the Curatorial and Design History program at the New School, says that demand for Cubist and Impressionist work is at an all-time high because the pieces are “beautiful, accessible and a proven value”.
The painting itself is a true achievement in Cubist portraiture. It features the figure of a woman sitting, eyes gazing at the viewer with breasts exposed, in the foreground, with another, more abstracted reclining nude to her right. In the background, several more prismatic nudes can be seen, their abstraction highlighted by their refracted reflections in what appears to be a mirror or doorway. Stripes in red, ochre, and earthy greens vibrate across the angled dimensions of the room, furthering the sense of rhythm in the painting.
Picasso’s Women of Algiers (Version O) painting was already a breathtaking masterpiece; its ample beauty can now be said to match its extraordinary price tag.