Picasso Painting Sets Record at Christie’s

. May 5, 2010

A Pablo Picasso artwork, painted in 1932, has set a new record for the most expensive art work sold at auction, fetching $106.5m, at Christie’s auction house in New York.

The 5-foot by 4-foot painting shows the reclining nude figure of Marie-Therese Walter with an image of Picasso in the background looking over her.

Eight clients were reported to be bidding for the picture on Tuesday, until it was hammered for $95 million, the buyer’s premium bringing the total to $106.5 million.

The Spanish artist’s 1932 picture Nude, Green Leaves and Bust had belonged to the late Los Angeles collectors Frances and Sidney Brody since the 1950s.

The winning bid was made by an unnamed telephone bidder. It breaks the record held by Giacometti’s Walking Man I, which sold in February for $104.3m.

The auction was a success, taking $335.54 million at the end of the day and posting the highest total since 2006.

The painting was from the the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody.

Mr. and Mrs. Sidney F. Brody
The Collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody began in earnest with a Henry Moore sculpture placed under the Christmas tree, a gift for Mrs. Frances Brody from her husband Sidney, a prominent Los Angeles real estate developer. “Sid put it under the Christmas tree. And well, by then I guess we were hooked,” she recalled in a later interview. Mrs. Brody shared with her father Albert Lasker a passion for collecting and a preference for Modern art and design in particular. As a young couple in the late 1940s, the Brodys engaged the legendary architect A. Quincy Jones and interior designer William “Billy” Haines to custom design their home in Holmby Hills, CA. Recognized as a tour-de-force of mid-century Modernist design, the house became the perfect foil for the couple’s burgeoning art collection, which grew over the years to become a scintillating display of paintings, sculpture and important works on paper.

Part of the sale proceeds will benefit the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., where Brody was on the board.

Image: Pablo Picasso, “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust”, 1932. Estimate upon request. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd., 2010

Category: Fine Art

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