Picasso's Women of Algiers auctioned at almost $180 million, breaking world record

Eleven minutes of prolonged bidding from telephone buyers preceded the final sale - for much more than its pre-sale estimate of $140m.

12 May 2015, 7:58am
Picasso's Women of Algiers has become the most expensive painting to sell at auction, going for $179.3m at Christie's in New York.

Eleven minutes of prolonged bidding from telephone buyers preceded the final sale - for much more than its pre-sale estimate of $140m.

The evening sale also featured Alberto Giacometti's life-size sculpture Pointing Man, which set a record as the most expensive sculpture, at $141.3m. The buyers chose to remain anonymous.

The Picasso oil painting is a vibrant, cubist depiction of nude courtesans, and is part of a 15-work series the Spanish artist created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A to O.

The final price of $179,365,000 includes Christie's commission of just over 12%.

The previous world record for a painting sold at auction was $142.4m, for British painter Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud.

That sold at Christie's in 2013.