Giacometti Breaks the Bank

Statue sets world auction record

Editorial Staff
February 25, 2010

At a high-profile Sotheby's auction in London on February 3, one of the most expensive art purchases ever sold at auction was made by a mystery telephone bidder. The record-breaking purchase was a bronze, Walking Man I, by Swiss-Italian artist Alberto Giacometti.


 The six-foot-high statue was one of six that had been commissioned in New York. The group, made in the early 1960s, was supposed to be placed outside the 60-story Chase Manhattan Tower in Manhattan. However Giacometti pulled out of the deal for unknown reasons.


 According to reports, the single bronze, cast in 1961, was sold for $104.3 million, three times more than its original estimated value, in less than eight minutes.


 The previous record for a piece of art sold at auction was $104.1 million for Pablo Picasso's Garcon a la Pipe. Commenting on the record-breaking purchase, deputy chairman of Sotheby's, Melanie Clore, said, ‘We knew that this was an incredibly important and rare masterpiece and probably one of the most important sculptures of the twenty-first century.'  

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