Alberto Giacometti's Pointing Man sets new sculpture record

Alberto Giacometti's Pointing Man has set a new world record for a piece of sculpture, achieving $141.3m.

The work was among the dazzling highlights of a sale of impressionist, modern and contemporary art at Christie's New York on May 11.

Giacometti Pointing Christies
Giacometti was a Swiss-born artist

Executed in 1947, shortly after the end of the second world war, the piece is considered Giacometti's masterpiece by critics and collectors.  

Christie's explained the importance of the work prior to the sale: "This stick figure suited the zeitgeist of the war's aftermath — perhaps a positive metaphor for civilisation emerging from the years of physical and psychic horror.

"The pose arouses speculation: is he merely giving directions to a passer-by, or might he be signalling the path to some brighter future or great beyond?"

The work exceeded the previous record for a sculpture, which was held by Giacometti's L'Homme qui marche I at $104.3m, by 35.4%.  

Sarah Lichtman, of Manhattan's New School university, told the Guardian that the growth in value for impression and modern artworks is largely because "they are beautiful, accessible and a proven value.

"Prices for works from these periods only seem to go up each auction cycle and the reputations of the artists become further enshrined. Today the works epitomise the conservative, moneyed establishment."

The same auction featured the $179.3m sale of Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger Version O - a record for an artwork at auction.

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