A Pablo Picasso painting, entitled “Women of Algiers (Version O),” sold for a whopping $179.4 million yesterday (May 11), the most a piece of art has ever brought in at auction.
The Cubist-style artwork, painted in 1955, depicts a harem of women in colorful clothing (cue the jokes that can be made here), according to the Wall Street Journal.
Bidding began at $100 million at Christie’s New York, with at least four individuals, who bid over the phone, sending that amount skyrocketing to its final selling price.
At $145 million, it became a war between two callers, and one bid eventually won. That individual remains anonymous.
The painting’s last owner was a London dealer, who bought it from an auction when the estate of Victor and Sally Ganz sold it for $31.9 million in 1997.
“Women of Algiers” is a part of a 15-work collection that Picasso created within about a year, each identified by different letters of the alphabet. It’s said to have been Picasso’s attempt to pay homage to Henri Matisse, “his artistic hero and sometime rival,” who died in 1954.
This piece breaks the record set by Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” a triptych (painting divided into three sections) sold for $142.4 million in 2013.