As countless art news sites have already mentioned, Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” (pictured) sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London yesterday for $104.3 million, beating Pablo Picasso’s previous record of $104.1 million for the sale of “Boy With a Pipe” (also pictured) at Sotheby’s in New York 2004 to become the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. The mystery auction winner dialed in the winning bid during what was reportedly a feverish session, full of bejeweled hands thrusting funny paddles into the electric air, rich with the scent of the rich. Prior to hitting the auction block, Sotheby’s had estimated that the six-foot-tall sculpture would go for somewhere between $19.2 million to $28.8 million, but boy were their faces red when the ten interested bidders drove the price much, much higher.
In the grand scheme of auction values, though, Picasso is still the big winner because there’s so much more of his work to be bought, sold and torn. And, most importantly, we should remember that Pablo and Alberto were totally tight back in 1920s Paris, where the former was blowing people’s minds with Cubism and the latter was re-invigorating sculpture with his spectacular fusion of Surrealism and Expressionism. They probably hung out in cafes drinking wine and making bets about who would seduce the most models that weekend. Modern art WIN!