At least 10 bidders gamely contested for the right to buy a rare bronze statue by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti. When the gavel fell, the art work set an all time record for a sale — $104.3 million.
The result confirmed that the art market has recovered from the financial crisis, which hit prices as well as the number of works changing hands in London and New York.
The sale of Giacometti’s “L’homme qui marche I” (Walking Man I) was the first life-size Giacometti figure to come up for auction in more than two decades, and the price was four times the Sotheby’s estimate.
The buyer, who bid by telephone and remains unidentified, exceeded the $104.2 million price paid for Picasso’s “Garcon a la Pipe,” in a New York auction in 2004.
The bidding lasted just eight minutes and was “fast and furious,” according to Sotheby’s.
German banking firm Commerzbank AG acquired the statue when it took over Dresdner Bank in 2009. Dresdner acquired the sculpture in 1980.