A Picasso painting and an Alberto Giacometti statue have broken world records for art sold at auction, fetching $A227 million and $179 million respectively.
The Pablo Picasso oil painting, The Women of Algiers (Version 0), sold for $US179 million after 11 and a half minutes of furious bidding from telephone buyers at a packed auction room at Christie’s.
Applause erupted when the sale was finalised in an atmosphere of feverish excitement, accompanied by laughter and jokes, fetching way over its pre-sale estimate of $US140 million.
The previous world record for a painting sold at auction was $US142.4 million, set by British painter Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which was sold by Christie’s in New York in 2013.
The 1955 painting by Picasso is one of the last major paintings by the Spanish master still in private hands. He painted several versions until he settled on the nearly four-by-five-foot (1.2-by-1.metre) canvas.
Just minutes later, the bronze statue by Swiss artist Giacometti called Man Pointing, which also broke its pre-sale estimate of $US130 million.
Christie’s senior vice president Loic Gouzer had predicted the two works could set a world record.
Swiss sculptor Giacometti also held the previous record for the most expensive sculpture sold at auction with his Walking Man I fetching $US104.3 million in London in 2010.
In total, Christie’s sold more than $US705 million worth of art at its 35-lot auction of masterpieces spanning more than a century from 1902 to 2011, and scored at its swanky New York premises at Rockefeller Plaza.
Picasso’s Buste de femme oil painting sold for $US67.365 million, a painting from Claude Monet’s The House of Parliament series went for $US40.485 million and Mark Rothko’s 1958 No 36, Black Stripe fetched $US40.485 million.