Sculpture sells for record $104.3 million

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A bronze sculpture of a man walking sold for $104.3 million at auction in London, setting a new world record for the highest price paid for a work of art, Sotheby's said Thursday.

"L'homme qui marche I," by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, was bought by an anonymous bidder who paid nearly three times the expected price, according to the auction house.

5 most expensive pieces of art
A bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti was auctioned for a record $104.3 million this week. Here are the 5 most expensive works of art ever sold on the block.

"The price is a reflection of the extraordinary importance of this exceptionally rare work, and the only life-time cast of this iconic subject ever to have come to auction," said Helena Newman, vice chairman of Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art department worldwide.

The previous record holder was Pablo Picasso's "Garçon à la Pipe," which was auctioned for $104.1 million in 2004.

Picasso's "Dora Maar au chat," which sold for $95.2 million in 2006, holds the title for third highest auction price. That is followed by Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, II" at $87.9 million and Francis Bacon's "Tryptic" at $86.3 million.

Sotheby's said the bidding for Giacometti's walking man, which opened at $19 million, became heated after about eight minutes, with a "fast and furious bidding battle between at least ten prospective purchasers."

The life-size bronze statue, cast in 1961, was previously owned by German-based Commerzbank, which acquired it when it took over the corporate collection of Dresdner Bank in 2009.

Commerzbank intends to use the sale proceeds to strengthen the resources of its new Foundation Center, and also to provide funds to their partner museums for restoration work and educational programs, Sotheby's said.

In addition to the Giacometti, Sotheby's said Gustav Klimt's "Kirche in Cassone" was auctioned for $43.2 million. It was a record auction price for a landscape painting by the popular Austrian artist and was well above the expected price range of between $19 million and $28 million.

The oil painting of a church in Cassone, Italy, had originally been in the collection of a wealthy Austrian iron magnate. It disappeared during World War II, possibly taken by Nazis or Soviet soldiers, and resurfaced decades later.

The Klimt was sold under an agreement with Georges Jorisch, the 81-year-old great nephew of the original owner, and the European private collector in whose family the painting had been for several years.

The sale was one of a growing number of cases in which Holocaust survivors and their descendents have worked to recover artwork looted by Nazis during the war.

"Today's sale closes a long-open chapter in my life in which I recover a part of my forbears' legacy and pass it on to future generations, just as my parents would have wished," Jorisch said. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 6:52pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.02 0.12%
Facebook Inc 58.94 -0.78 -1.31%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.44 1.68%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.18 0.78%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 1.43 6.36%
Data as of 4:01pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

GM won't have to tell customers to keep their recalled cars parked until fixed, after a federal judge denied emergency motion Thursday. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.