Christie’s New York estimated that Pablo Picasso’s 1955 painting “Les Femmes d’Alger (Type O)” would sell for about $140 million. It turns out their appraisers shortchanged the painting by $39 million.
Yes, the artwork ended up selling for $179,365,000 on Monday – the highest price ever for a painting sold at auction. The winning bid was placed via telephone by an anonymous art enthusiast, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In February, a Paul Gauguin painting sold for $300 million, the all-time highest price for a painting, but it was a private sale as opposed to an auction. The previous highest price for a painting sold at auction was $142 million – set on November 12, 2013, when Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” was sold at Christie’s New York.
The Picasso sale wasn’t the only record broken at Monday’s auction. According to BBC, a work by Albert Giacometti became the most expensive sculpture ever auctioned off when it sold for $141.3 million.
“Les Femmes d’Alger (Type O)” is the 15th and final in a series Picasso made inspired by the 1834 Eugene Delacroix painting "Women of Algiers." It depicts a group of women in a Cubist style.