Giacometti Sculpture Sells For More Than $104 Million At Auction
Posted by Media Outrage on February 4, 2010
The sculpture you see before you, is called “Walking Man”, and sold for $104 million, at an auction making it the most expensive piece to ever move via auction.
Via Finance Yahoo:
A rare life-size and life-time bronze cast, from 1961, of Alberto Giacometti’s L’Homme Qui Marche I, better known as “Walking Man,” improbably became the most expensive work of art ever to sell at auction today, selling for £65,001,250 ($104,327,006).
The price barely edged out the previous record, set in 2004 by Pablo Picasso’s Garcon a la Pipe, 1905, which went for $104.1 million (£58,052,830) at the time. But Giacometti’s personal previous record, achieved when Grand Femme Debout II, 1959-60, earned $27,481,000 at Christie’s New York in May 2008, was vanquished in seconds.
The £65,001,250 ($104,327,006) result also pulverized the previous record for any modern sculpture sold at auction, achieved last February at the Yves Saint Laurent sale in Paris when Constantin Brancusi’s Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.) from circa 1914-17 sold for $37.7 million.
Estimated to sell for £12-18 million, the much-talked-about Giacometti figure of a spindly man, who resembles a survivor of a cataclysmic event, frozen in mid-stride, took off like a Roman candle, with multiple bids erupting in the packed salesroom.
At least four phone bidders tangled for the prize, as did several seasoned dealers, including New York private dealer Nancy Whyte, who went up to £23 million before dropping out, connected via cell phone to her anonymous client.
“That was peanuts,” said Whyte shortly afterwards, alluding to her bidding, and expressing surprise at just how much higher the bronze traveled.
Pre-sale buzz that the Giacometti might hit $50 million was greeted with considerable skepticism by even seasoned players. No one even fantasized it would exceed $100 million.
There are two versions of “Walking Man,” I and II, each in an edition of six plus artist proofs. It is believed that example of the first walking man, which was consigned by the Frankfurt-based Commerzbank, is the only life-time cast still in private hands.
Sotheby’s senior specialist Philip Hook, who took the winning phone bid at a hammer price of £58 million, said that one of the unidentified underbidders told him before the sale that he had been waiting 40 years for the sculpture to come on the market. It turned out to be that kind of generational event. Hook declined to divulge any information about his phone client.
The six-foot-high bronze has an American heritage as well. It was first acquired in December 1961 by legendary New York dealer Sidney Janis, who bought it from Galerie Maeght in Paris and debuted it in New York at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1968, according to the auction catalogue.
The catalogue also showed a vintage photograph of Giacometti covered in white plaster and working on the spindly legs of the figure in his Paris studio before it was cast in bronze. The image added to the iconic status of the astonishing sculpture, believed by some to be his greatest work. There’s no question it’s his most expensive.
Mediaoutrage– Interesting how pieces of art sell for hundreds of millions while their are still hundreds of millions of people dying everyday from starvation. Just saying…