The auction house had earlier estimated Pablo Picasso’s “Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese)” would sell for $55 million.
Pablo Picasso's "Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese)” has sold for $103.4 million at Christie’s in New York.
The painting, completed in 1932, was sold after 19 minutes of bidding for $90 million, which rose to $103.4 million when fees and commissions were added, the auction house said on Tuesday.
Christie's had estimated the painting would sell for $55 million.
Art industry back on track
The sale confirms the vitality of the art market despite the Covid-19 pandemic – but also the special status of Picasso, who was born in 1881 and died in 1973.
The generally good performance of Thursday's auctions, totalling $481 million, "signals a real return to normal and also a message that the art market is really back on track," said Bonnie Brennan, president of Christie's America.
The painting, depicting Picasso's young mistress and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, was acquired only eight years ago at a London sale for about $44.8 million (28.6 million pounds), less than half the price offered Thursday.
Five works by the Spanish painter have now crossed the symbolic threshold of $100 million.
Even before this sale, he was already alone at the top of this very exclusive club with four paintings, including "Women of Algiers", which holds the record for a Picasso, at $179.4 million in 2015.
Our 20th Century Evening Sale totaled $481.1 million, bringing our total of the 20th and 21st Century Evening Sales to $691.5 million.— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) May 14, 2021
Christie's 20th and 21st Century Art Week continues tomorrow with Post-War and Contemporary Art and Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sales. pic.twitter.com/EsewNCGLHL
Record breaking sale
This is the first time in two years that a work has broken the $100 million mark since an 1890 Claude Monet "Meules" painting reached $110.7 million at Sotheby's, also in New York.
On Tuesday, the painting "In This Case" by the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $93.1 million at Christie's in the first of the major spring sales, one of the two most important events in the auction world.
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