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2015 Auction Sales Records
Artstyle 17 Dec 2015

2015 Auction Sales Records

2016 is coming up and it is time to draw some conclusions about 2015. Faced with the skyrocketing prices of contemporary art, many are those who claim the art world has gone mad, is taken over by finance and living in a speculative bubble likely to explode at any minute !

While we wait for the explosion of the bubble carrying down all the overpriced contemporary art superstars, auction houses sales continue to hit historical records! Here are the four unprecedented record sales of 2015 !



Last February, one of Paul Gaugin‘s major paintings entitled When will you marry was secretly sold for about 300 million dollars by its former owner, the Swiss family Rudolf-Staechelin, to an Emir of Qatar. This painting is likely to have become the most expensive art transaction of all times.

The painting had been exhibited for 50 years at the Beyeler Foundation and was part of the retrospective about the artist organized at the Kunstmuseum this very year. Painted in 1892, When will you marry? represents two conniving vahines wearing flower dresses.



Last June, Christie’s hit a record with the sale of Les Femmes d’Alger by Picasso from 1955. Within eleven minutes, the painting was sold for the modest amount of 179 million dollars and became the most expensive artwork ever sold in the history of auctions, taking over Bacon’s triptych sold in 2013 for 127 millions. An interesting fact about this piece is that it was its second time being auctionned. It sold for the first time in 1997 for 28 millions dollars. A rather interesting added value!

For this sale, both saler and buyer remained anonymous.



Last november, Christie’s New York auction made an historical sale with the oil on canvas by Italian artist Modigliani entitled Reclining Nude, which sold for 170,4 millions dollars. Said to be of high value within the artist’s oeuvre, the artwork was bought after nine minutes of bidding by a Chinese buyer on the phone. It became therefore the second most expensive auction art sale in history.

The last record for Modigliani was a sculpture entitled “Heads” for 70,7 millions dollars in November 2014.



At the same historic Picasso sale, Christie’s hit a second world auction record with a bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti entitled Pointing man for 141,28 millions dollars. Only 6 casts exist for this sculpture and the last record for Giacometti’s artwork was 65 millions at Sotheby’s auction in 2010.

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