A sculpture pictured on a 1998 Swiss 100 franc banknote sold for big, big money this week.
So big spenders are cutting back? Clearly not all of them. A sculpture of a grimly determined walking man by Alberto Giacometti tonight broke records by becoming the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction when it was bought for £65m.
The price, achieved at Sotheby's in London, was five times more than its estimate of £12m-18m, and beat the record set by Picasso's Garçon à la Pipe in 2004. That sold in New York for $104,168,000. With exchange rates the way they are the Giacometti pipped it at $104,327,006.
It was a recession-defying sale with something of a circular feel to it: the only reason it was up for auction was the banking crisis. It was part of the collection of the collapsed Dresdner Bank – bought in the 1980s – and was being sold by its new owners Commerzbank which promised to give all the money to charitable foundations.
For the buyers and their representatives, the Giacometti sale was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. The sculpture is considered to be one of the most important by the 20th-century Swiss artist.
Not bad for a modern work that isn’t even unique - it's one of a series of six versions created by the artist. Edition number one of the sculpture is located at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA, where I had the opportunity to view it often. I always liked it, even before it appeared on a banknote. Should I like it even more now? Somebody sure likes it a lot.
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Alberto Giacometti statue breaks auction record with £65m sale
Wayne Homren, Editor
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