Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sotheby's | Giacometti's "Walking Man" | $104.3 MILLION USD

Sotheby’s sold Giacometti’s mottled bronze six-foot tall Walking Man I for 65 million pounds or $104.3 million tonight in London, setting a record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. The buyer was an anonymous phone bidder, according to Sotheby’s.

The previous record was held by Picasso’s rose and blue Boy with a Pipe, which fetched $104 million in 2004 at Sotheby’s in New York.

Bidding on the striding man started at 12 million pounds, according to Sotheby’s, and lasted for a marathon eight minutes. Ten prospective buyers competed. The final duel came down to two bidders on the phone with Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht and Impressionist specialist Philip Hook. Hook’s bidder was the victor.

The Giacometti was formerly in the corporate collection of Dresdner Bank AG, and sold by Commerzbank which acquired Dresdner in 2009. The piece is from a 1961 life-time cast, created in an edition of six, with four artist’s proofs. Dealers say another version, cast after the artist’s death, is also on the market.

Another star lot was Gustav Klimt’s verdant Kirche in Cassone which sold for $43 million, a new auction record for the artist. The Klimt was also acquired by an anonymous phone bidder.


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