Picasso’s recent record-breaking sale of The Women of Algiers out performed auction estimates by over £12m reaching a final sale price of $115m at Christie’s New York this week. It out-sold the most expensive artwork previously sold at auction, Francis Bacon's triptych "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," which sold for $91.6 million at Christie's in November 2013.
The work, known as Version O, is part of a 15 piece series painted in 1954-55 in which Picasso depicts the female form with his infamous bold imagery uniting proto-cubist and arabesque styles with masterful use colour, line and composition. Far more than a nod toward orientalism, this work was created at a time of increasing political unrest in the then French colony of Algeria and speaks to the influence of great artists like Cezanne and Delacroix.
In addition to Picasso, the auction featured works from Monet to Warhol and took in a total of £454m. These figures reinforces the trend of increasing sales and pricing within the fine art markets and auctions in 2014 now into 2015. The recognition of fine art as a stable investment asset has resulted in increased demand for big-name artists and great artworks as the world economies stabilize.