From the perch of an auction-house seat, you might think that the world economy was flourishing, that bankers and bus drivers alike were in the black and in the chips. Last night, a Alberto Giacometti bronze statute, “Walking Man 1” (above, left) netted $104.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London, handily breaking the pre-recession record of $104.1 million paid for Picasso’s “Boy With Pipe (The Young Apprentice)” (above, right). While not as famous, nor as big an auction draw as names like Picasso, Van Gogh, and others, modern master Giacometti is nonetheless a legend for his figurative castings and the relative fame of “Walking Man 1” made the auction a rare chance to scoop up what amounts to a contemporary icon. At a good six feet tall, the piece is the first large work by the Swiss sculptor to come up on the block for 20 years also drove the price sky high, smashing the estimate of $19.2 million to $28.8 million. Compare this to Tuesday’s Modern/Impressionist auction at Chrisitie’s where a Picasso sold for $12.8 million and it looks like the arts market is enjoying a healthy comeback when it comes to noted names.
“Giacometti Bronze Breaks World Record Auction Price” [NYT]
To walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh, who broke several auction-house records over the years, pre-order our “Art + Travel Europe: Step into the Lives of Five Famous Painters”.
Above, left to right: “Walking Man 1”, Alberto Giacometti, 1960, “”Boy With Pipe (The Young Apprentice)”, Pablo Picasso, 1905, images courtesy of Sotheby’s.