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Label: sales record

Friday 29th May 2015Incredible New Auction Sale Record

While it seems like the entire art world is abuzz about art fairs lately, the auction world is still going strong and setting new records of its own all the time. The big Western auction houses, Christie's, Sotheby's and the lot are regularly being joined by new auction houses in emerging markets in rapidly developing nations such as China, India, and the United Arab Emirates. The older houses still seem to be the reigning champions when it comes to sales records, as we saw over the course of May when a brand new auction record was set at Christie's.

The auctioned piece that set the new world record was Women of Algiers (Version O) by Cubist master Pablo Picasso, one of the pioneers of the entire Cubist genre. The work, which was completed on February 4, 1955, is an oil on canvas piece featuring the characteristic bright colours and blend of organic and geometric shapes that are the hallmarks of the Cubist movement. The final auction price? A whopping $179.4 million USD. This makes it not just the record for a Picasso, not just the record for a painting, but the record for any piece of art ever sold at an auction in the world. (See the painting to the right, courtesy of Christie's.)

That's not the only thing that's stunning, though. This individual record sale was part of a larger week-long auction series put on by Christie's which featured artists from the 20th century, and included many of the biggest artistic names of the century. Aside from the Pablo Picasso mentioned, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Egon Schiele and Piet Mondrian were among those on the block. The final total for the works that changed hands? $1.4 billion US dollars. Yes, billion with a 'b'.

Perhaps auctioneers aren't going to be so worried about art fairs after all, if they keep consistently breaking their own records. Naturally, art from such established masters is an excellent investment that is virtally guaranteed to appreciate in value for those who have the initial capital – after all, it's like real estate – it's not like those old masters will be making any more of it. Perhaps there is room for auctions and art fairs to co-exist, as they tend to operate in slightly different areas of the market, but much of the smaller business that was once the bread and butter of the auction house has moved away to the art fair – we'll do a bit of research to see what the record sale made at an art fair is!

Posted on May 29th 2015 on 03:41am
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