Picasso painting sells for record $179.4m at auction

A PICASSO masterpiece painted in tribute to his late friend and rival Henry Matisse  - a highlight of the Picasso exhibition at Tate in 2012 - has just become the world's most expensive painting sold at auction fetching $179.4 million.

Les femmes d'Alger (version O), went under the hammer in New York on Monday night,  and is acknowledged by experts to be one of the Spanish artists' most impressive paintings still in a private collection.

It is the last and most celebrated of 15 variations of Les femmes d'Alger, which Picasso began in 1954 following Matisse's death, taking inspiration from Eugene Delacroix.

The previous record of $142 million paid for at a 2013 auction was a Francis Bacon triptych.

The art market is currently feverishly buoyant with last week's $368 million Sotheby's spring sale exceeding estimates by tens of millions and a van Gogh selling for more then $20 million its predicted worth.

The 1881 van Gogh, L'allée Des Alyscamps, of the Roman necropolis in Arles, France fetched $66.3 million at auction in New York after five bidders competed to acquire the work pushing it well above its $40 million guide price.

Other artworks are believed to have exchanged for more than $142 million on the private market, but details are sketchy and buyers are loathe to expose their investments to the glare of publicity unnecessarily.

Last week's Sotheby's sale was fuelled by bidding wars and high net worth buyers from Asia. Purchasers of artworks under these circumstances usually remain anonymous.

Previously, the most expensive Picasso sold at auction was Nude, Green Leaves and Bust which sold at Christie's in 2010 for $106.5 million.

Topics:  art auction picasso

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Snitz sizzles to win qualifier with ease

IN FULL FLIGHT: Brisbane jockey Robbie Fradd streaks clear to win the $150,000 NRRA Country Championships qualifier on board Snitz, trained by Matt Dunn, at Clarence River Jockey Club.

SHORT priced favourite sends everybody home happy.

Ballina Players brings popular military drama to the stage

ON STAGE: John Rado as Colonel Nathan Jessep and Dylan Wheeler as Lt Daniel Kaffee in the Ballina Players production of A Few Good Men.

Tickets are on sale for their new production of A Few Good Men

Triumph of dreams ... it all started with one bike

A CLASSIC: Meerschaum Vale's Col McAndrew with his Triumph 1956 Speed Twin which he will show at the Northern Rivers Classic Motorcycle Club's Show and Shine at Alstonville Plaza on March 18.

Col has six classic bikes; 100 expected at show

Local Partners