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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…

19 Responses to “Giacometti Sculpture Sells For More Than $104 Million At Auction”

  1. […] Giacometti Sculpture Sells For More Than $104 Million At Auction … […]

  2. MizzMimi said

    for that kind of money i can get a real man to stand in my living room like that everyday

  3. For A $100 Million a Statue, I’d Buy Ellis island and fuck Lady Liberty!!!…

    Tha hell wrong with people buying statue’s only 6 feet tall for 100 million!?!?!??!

  4. Truly23 said

    Manute Bol needs to be suing someone right about now for creating a piece of him without his permission. lol

  5. Kingston said

    WTH?! 104 Mil for that shit? Please.

  6. ucanb2 said

    OKAY..

  7. MissTX said

    Man that ain’t nothing but mud, rocks and cement dried from 4000 degree heat!

    Hell they smoking on selling that for 104 mil?!!

  8. ALLISWELL5 said

    Besides purchasing the statue, I’m willing to bet that the buyer got more satisfaction out of being recognized as being able to “afford” the most expensive item ever sold at an auction….he just wanted to drop his nuts and show his power and status…..you gotta have a lot of money to purchase some Bullsh!% like that!

  9. Thats odd I took a sh!t that looked just like that the other day. Had i known people were shelling out cash for that Ill make another one and call it “Without a Paddle”.

  10. Lio said

    This gives me an idea, I will make a big ass sculpture made of crap, get some media attention. Fake my own death a few weeks later, this should shoot the value of my “art” through the roof. Wait a couple of years an put the damn thing in a auction and some asshole with way to much cash spend his money.

    Take the cash and give to those who REALLY need it . I don’t care who you are , no one should pay 104 million for a piece of art, even if Jesus Christ made it…ridiculous..SMH

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