Bidder Endings

Giacometti Sets Auction Record at $104.3 Million

Alberto Giacometti’s six-foot-tall sculpture shattered the world record for a work of art at an auction, selling to an unidentified telephone bidder for a total of $104.3 million. The astonishing sale of the 1960 sculpture, “Walking Man I” at Sotheby’s in London could signal a resurgence in the art market. Though business was deeply wounded by the international financial crisis, on February 3, 10 bidders vied for the sculpture, which started at $19 million. While Sotheby’s expected the work to sell for about one-fourth of that final price, the Giacometti’s large size and the artist’s popularity among international buyers are likely to have contributed to the steep final offer. “Walking Man I” was one of the few completed pieces from the Swiss master, who was known for his blank-face sculptures, after he was commissioned to make several bronze statues for the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York’s financial district 50 years ago. Pablo Picasso’s 1906 work Boy With a Pipe, previously held the record, selling for $104.2 million in a Sotheby’s auction six years ago.