A portrait of Pablo Picasso‘s lover Marie-Therese Walter sold in London on Tuesday night for £28.6 million ($45.0 million), Sotheby’s auction house said.
The colourful and curvaceous “Femme assise pres d’une fenetre” (Woman sitting by a window), painted in 1932, was sold to an anonymous telephone buyer.
The painting was the star lot in Tuesday’s impressionist, modern and surrealist art sale, achieving the top price in an auction that netted a total of £121 million.
Picasso met his famous muse Marie-Therese Walter in Paris in 1927, when she was 17 and he was 45. Their relationship was kept secret for many years because of her youth and Picasso’s marriage to the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.
The affair was revealed in 1932 when portraits of Walter were displayed for the first time alongside other Picasso works in a major retrospective, and Khokhlova realised there was another woman in her husband’s life.
Walter, who inspired several of Picasso’s works including “La Lecture”, “La Reve” and “Nature morte aux tulipes”, bore the Spanish artist a daughter, Maya.
Another portrait of Walter from the same series, “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, held the record for the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction when it was bought for $106.4 million in 2010.
Spanish chef Ferran Adrià will be selling off the contents of the wine cellar from his now-shuttered restaurant El Bulli in two separate auctions to be held next year.
The piano used as the prop for the key flashback scene between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” will go on sale next month.
A rare surviving first model of the Apple computer — a stripped down, clunky device that bears no resemblance to today’s sleek gadgets — sold for $374,000 at auction in New York on Friday.
A centuries-old diamond passed down through generations of European royalty fetched nine million Swiss francs ($9.7 million) at auction in Geneva on Tuesday.
The 34.98-carat “Beau Sancy” diamond measures 2.3 centimetres in height, is 1.9 cm wide and 1.1 cm deep.
Passed down through the royal families of France, England, Prussia and the Netherlands, the Beau de Sancy has witnessed 400 years of European history.
Sotheby’s has launched its own private-label champagne, the first from an auction house. A bottle costs $29.99 and a magnum $69.95.
The bubbly is being produced by sixth-generation French champagne house R & L Legras, which supplies many Michelin-starred restaurants such as Guy Savoy, La Tour d’Argent and Ledoyen.
The in-house brand will also be served at Sotheby’s events around the world including New York, London, and Hong Kong.
The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” set a world record Wednesday when it sold for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York.
Heated competition between seven bidders took the price to the highest for a work of art at auction in just 12 minutes, sparking applause.
The previous record was held by Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust which sold in 2010 for $106.5 million.
An extremely rare Chinese porcelain bowl fetched nearly $27 million in Hong Kong on Wednesday, smashing pre-sale estimates by about three times.
The price sets a new record for a piece of ceramic from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), according to Sotheby’s.
“The piece is possibly the greatest masterpiece of Song ceramic that we have ever offered in Hong Kong,” Sotheby’s Asia deputy chairman Nicolas Chow said.
A painting by Pop Art king Andy Warhol depicting rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley as a cowboy gunslinger is expected to fetch $30-$50 million when it goes on sale in May.
“Double Elvis,” executed in black and silvery white in 1963, “is a seminal piece from the iconic series devoted to the singer,” Sotheby’s said. The painting “epitomizes the artist’s obsessions with fame, stardom and the public image.”
A 110-carat yellow jewel called the Sun Drop Diamond, thought the biggest of its kind in the world, sold for a record 10 million francs ($10.9 million) at auction in Geneva.
The gem was discovered in South Africa in 2010 and wowed visitors to London’s Natural History Museum where it was displayed earlier this year.
“It’s an absolute record for a yellow diamond,” Sotheby’s David Bennett told journalists after the sale. “It is a spectacular, unique stone.”
One of the world’s largest diamonds, a pear-shaped 110.3-carat yellow rock, will go under the hammer in Geneva in November expecting to fetch about $15 million.
The Sun-Drop diamond, discovered in South Africa last year, is billed by Sotheby’s as the “world’s largest known pear-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond“.
“This stone has immense presence and is truly stunning. It is also one of the largest diamonds ever to have appeared at auction,” Sotheby’s Switzerland co-chairman David Bennett told a news conference in Hong Kong.
Hailed the world’s most expensive and precious car model by Guinness World Records, this creation is based on the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4.
The car was crafted by Robert Gülpen — who has also created miniatures of the Mercedes Benz 500 SL and Aston Martin DB5 from precious metals and gems.
The Lamborghini is made from carbon fibre like the original and its shell was milled using computer modelling data handed over from the Italian car manufacturer.
A series of auctions of high-end goods from fine wine to Imperial Chinese ceramics goes into full swing this weekend in Hong Kong, as the city challenges the dominance of New York and London.
The multi-million-dollar auctions are looking to cash in on the vast wealth of China’s growing number of millionaires keen to show off their newly-made cash.
Christie’s six-day Spring sale kicks off Friday with more than 2,700 lots, including a rare Patek Philippe watch and several pieces of contemporary art, that the house expects to rake in about HK$2.4 billion ($308 million).
A dazzling tiara featuring emeralds believed to have belonged to Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, sold for a record 11.28 million Swiss francs ($12.80 million) to an anonymous buyer at Sotheby’s.
The diamond and emerald tiara was commissioned by German prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck’s for his second wife Katharina.
It was top lot at a sale that netted 78.9 million Swiss francs, third highest for a jewellery sale, the auction house said.
An extremely rare translucent pink diamond fetched a price of $10.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday, the third-highest price ever paid for one of the pink stones at auction.
“It is the third-highest price for a pink diamond at auction,” auctioneer David Bennett told journalists after the sale.
The 10.99-carat, emerald-cut stone was classed as a type IIa diamond, with the type II category making up less than two percent of gem diamonds.
A celebrated masterpiece by Pablo Picasso has sold at Sotheby’s auction house in London for £25.2 million ($40,5 million), more than double its pre-auction valuation.
“La Lecture” is a work from the Spanish painter’s “annus mirabilis,” 1932, and depicts the artist’s famous muse, Marie-Therese Walter.
Seven bidders vied for the coveted Picasso work, the hammer eventually coming down after six minutes of bidding to finalise the sale to an anonymous phone buyer.
A Chinese face or two in the crowd at the world’s auction houses often means one thing: the gavel will fall on a price far beyond the seller’s wildest dreams.
Fierce bidding by Chinese buyers for a vase at a small London auctioneer in November, for example, drove the price up nearly 40 times beyond its estimate, from around $1.9 million to $70 million.
It was the highest price ever paid for a Chinese artwork sold at auction and equivalent to a huge lottery win for the sellers, who found the 18th Century Qianlong Emperor-era piece while clearing out a house after a relative died.
A sumptuous painting of the Madonna and child by Renaissance master Titian sold for a record $16,882,500 Thursday in New York.
The Sotheby’s auction easily broke a 20-year-old record of $13.6 million for a Titian.
The painting, “A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria,” depicts the Virgin Mary and the two saints posed around a chubby infant Jesus as he stretches out his left hand.
A rare copy of John James Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’ set a new world record for a printed book at auction Tuesday, selling for 7.3 million pounds in London.
The four-volume book was subject to competitive bidding on the phones and in Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries, and sold for 7,321,250 pounds.
Originally estimated to sell for between four and six million pounds, the book was bought by London dealer Michael Tollemache.
A bracelet owned by Wallis Simpson, whose affair with Edward VIII led to his abdication, has sold for a world record-breaking Â£4.5m ($7m) at auction.
The diamond panther bracelet, was sold by Sothebyâ€™s. It was the most expensive bracelet and most expensive Cartier item to be sold at any auction.
It was one of 20 pieces owned by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to go under the hammer in the sale, which raised a total of Â£7,975,550 ($12,417,369m).