NEW YORK – Art market history was made at Christie’s May 4 when the Pablo Picasso painting, titled “Nude Green Leaves, and Bust” sold for $106,482,500 to an unidentified telephone bidder, setting a new world record for any work of art sold at auction.
Silence fell over the packed saleroom as Christopher Burge conducted nine minutes of bidding that involved eight clients. Christie’s lead auctioneer took bids from a client in the saleroom as well as those on the phone before the competition settled down to two bidders at the $88 million mark and a one-on-one battle ensued. The final bid was hammered down at 7:32 p.m. at $95 million. Christie’s buyers premium takes the price of the painting to a record breaking $106.5 million.
“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” is the star lot of the Collection of Mrs. Sidney Brody, a stellar assemblage of Modern Art purchased primarily in the 1940′s and 50′s and kept in the family home since. Known among experts as the “lost” 1932 masterpiece because it had never before been published in color, Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust is a sensuous depiction of Picasso’s muse and mistress Marie-Therese Walter. In previous years, Christie’s has successfully sold six paintings from Picasso’s celebrated 1932 series. As befitting its importance within the canon of Picasso’s work, the $70-90 million pre-sale estimate was the highest placed yet on an artwork offered at Christie’s New York.
The previous highest price for a work at auction was $104,327,006 paid for L’homme qui marche I, bronze, 1960, by Alberto Giacometti on February 3, 2010. The previous highest price for a work of art by Pablo Picasso was $104,168,000 paid for Garçon à la pipe, 1905 on 5 May 2004.
-posted by Eric Bradley