Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger smashes world record

Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger Version O (1955) has sold for a world record sum of $179.3m at Christie's New York.

It smashed the previous art auction record, set at $142m for Francis Bacon's Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud, by 26.2%.

Picasso Algiers Christies
Picasso's Femme d'Alger Version O was inspired by the work of his friend Matisse

As one of the largest and most high profile works by Picasso still available on the open market, its May 11 sale was hotly anticipated.

Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie's global president, commented: "From the moment that we announced the sale, global collectors embraced the concept and were prepared to consign masterpieces to the auction…

"We have entered a new era of the art market where collectors from all parts of the world compete for the very best across categories, generating record prices at levels we have never seen before."

The reason for the spectacular rise in the value of these works is in large part due to the growing use of works of art as low tax investment pieces by the super rich.

The rise in wealth concentration around the world makes it likely that prices for the best works of art will continue on their upward trajectory indefinitely.

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