Nowadays, the art of sculpture has probably reached its peak; at least, it concerns prices and demand for works by famous artists. Thus, on 12 May 2015, one more record price was beaten at Christie’s New York: the “Pointing Man” sculpture by Alberto Giacometti was sold for the incredible sum of $141.3 million! It is almost $40 million more than the previous top lot – another work by this Swiss master, entitled “Walking Man I.” So let’s found out how much collectors from around the world are willing to pay for the most expensive sculptures that are extremely popular at auction sales these days!
“Pointing Man” (1947)
“Pointing man” is the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction! It is one of six similar bronze works created by Giacometti in 1947. For the last 45 years, it was kept in a private collection until in May 2015, it went under the hammer for a record $141.3 million. The buyer is unknown. However, “Pointing man” is truly a very exceptional sculpture. The fact is that it is the only one that was painted by Giacometti himself. On the eve of its sale at the Christie’s auction, “Pointing man” was estimated at $130 million, which was even higher than the estimated price of “Walking Man I,” the most expensive Giacometti’s sculpture for that moment.
“Walking Man I” (1961)
“Walking Man I” is considered one of the most famous sculptures of the 20th century. This work, along with a portrait of Alberto Giacometti, is even depicted on the banknote of 100 Swiss francs. In 2010, for the first time in 20 years, it was put up for Sotheby’s auction by the German Dresdner Bank AG. The sculpture caused a real stir! The fierce bidding that lasted eight minutes ended with a result of $104.3 million, making “Walking Man I” one of the most expensive sculptures in the world. Its new owner is Lily Safra, the widow of the Brazilian banker Edmond J. Safra.
“For the Love of God” (2007)
The platinum sculpture by Damien Hirst, the renowned British artist, is a slightly smaller copy of an 18th-century human skull, decorated with 8,601 clear diamonds and a pear-shaped pink diamond (52.4 ct) known as the Skull Star Diamond, which is placed in the forehead. What’s more, the skull has original teeth that were purchased in London. Damien Hirst, who is famous for his scandalous installations with dead animals in formaldehyde, paid £14 million to create such a precious artwork. In 2007, the skull was exhibited in White Cube Gallery, and the same year it was sold for £50 million ($100 million). The gallery’s representative reported that the buyers were going to resell this Hirst’s masterpiece in the near future.
This sculpted stone head created by Amedeo Modigliani was sold in 2014 for $70.7 million at Sotheby’s New York, thus breaking a record for the work by the Italian artist. It represents a world-known sculpture series that includes seven works known under the name “The Pillars of Tenderness,” which were exhibited by the author in 1911 in the studio of Portuguese artist Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso. The buyer, as often happens, is unknown.