Picasso, Munch, Van Gogh, Giacometti, Oh My: Poised to Set Records at NYC AuctionsPosted: May 1, 2015
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s spring art auctions get underway Tuesday with exceptional pieces by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Vincent Van Gogh and others whose work continues to fuel a robust market for impressionist, modern and contemporary art.
Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O),” estimated to bring over $140 million, is poised to become the most expensive artwork sold at auction, while Giacometti’s “Pointing Man” could set an auction record for a sculpture if bidding soars to an expected $130 million.
Both are being offered at Christie’s on May 11.
Experts say the once unimaginable prices are fueled by established and wealthy new buyers and the desire by collectors to own the best works.
“I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” said Manhattan dealer Richard Feigen. “Buyers will flock in from the Far East, the Gulf and Europe.”
In 2012, Edvard Munch‘s “The Scream” fetched nearly $120 million only to be bested a year later when Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold for $142.4 million.
Now Picasso’s 1955 “Women of Algiers” could potentially eclipse that stratospheric price tag. The vibrantly colorful work featuring a scantily attired female amid smaller nudes is part of a 15-work series that Picasso created in 1954-1955. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.
Giacometti’s 1947 “Pointing Man,” a life-size bronze of an elongated figure with extended arms, has been in the same private collection for 45 years. Giacometti, who died in 1966, made six casts of the work; four are in museums, the others are in private hands and a foundation collection.
His “Walking Man I” holds the auction record for a sculpture. It sold in 2010 for $104.3 million.
The Picasso and Giacometti are among two dozen blue chip 20th-century works that Christie’s is offering in a stand-alone sale called “Looking Forward to the Past.”
“The pieces for sale this spring are truly outstanding. Many, like Giacometti’s ‘Pointing Man,’ are iconic 20th-century works of art and (are) of museum quality. The Tate and MoMA own editions of ‘Pointing Man,’ for example,” said Sarah Lichtman, professor of design history and curatorial studies at The New School….(read more)