An anonymous buyer has just paid an astounding $179.36 million for Pablo Picassoâ€™s 1955 painting Les femmes dâ€™Alger (Version â€œOâ€), putting it in top position in the world of very expensive artworks. The painting last sold in 1997 for a paltry $31.9 million.
Olivier Camu, Christieâ€™s Deputy Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art had these insights on the paintings history:
â€œLes femmes dâ€™Alger, (Version â€œOâ€) is the culmination of a herculean project which Picasso started after Matisseâ€™s death, in homage to his lost friend and competitor, and which over a period of two months and after nearly 100 studies on paper and 14 other paintings led to the creation of this canvas in February 1955. Picasso painted a series of 15 variations on Delacroixâ€™s Les femmes dâ€™Alger, designated as versions A through O. Throughout his series, Picasso references the Spanish masterâ€™s two versions of the shared subject, intermingling their elements.â€
All of which shows that even the super-rich are not always financially sensible.
Is “Les femmes dâ€™Alger” even arguably the greatest painting in the history of Western art? Not really. Is it even the greatest of all Picassos? Not really.