List of most expensive sculptures

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This is a list of the highest known prices paid for sculptures.

Most valuable sculpture[edit]

Alberto Giacometti's L'Homme qui marche I achieved the highest price of any sculpture ever sold when it was auctioned by Sotheby's in February 2010. Selling for US$104.3 million, it ranks amongst the most valuable works of art.[1]

In 2005, Constantin Brâncuși's Bird in Space broke records when it sold for $27.5 million.[2] The record stood for two years until a highly regarded work of antiquity surpassed the price. Artemis and the Stag, found in the 1920s at a Roman construction site, fetched $28.6 million in June 2007.[3] The new record would only stand for a few months, with a work by Pablo Picasso, Tete de femme (Dora Maar), surpassing it by half a million US dollars in November 2007.[4]

In December 2007, the sale of the Guennol Lioness, a statue from around 3000 BC, nearly doubled the previous record price when it sold for $57.2 million. It remains the second most valuable sculpture and the most valuable piece from antiquity.[5]

Damien Hirst has claimed that his sculpture For the Love of God, which consists of a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, was sold for £50 million (around US$75 million) in August 2007. The truth of this private sale, which was to an unknown consortium, has been called into question. David Lee, editor of The Jackdaw, commented: "Everyone in the art world knows Hirst hasn't sold the skull. It's clearly just an elaborate ruse to drum up publicity and rewrite the book value of all his other work." If the sale did take place, For the Love of God would become the second most expensive sculpture ever sold and would have fetched the highest price for a sculpture by a living artist.[6][7]

2010 was a good year for record-breaking sculpture prices but it did not continue into 2011. Jeff Koons' porcelain Pink Panther was estimated to fetch a value of up to $30 million, but only achieved just over half that.[8]

Auction details[edit]

All of the most expensive sculptures have been sold by one of two auction houses: Sotheby's and Christie's. Sotheby's has hosted the auctions of the two works that reached the highest price, one in London and the other in New York. Only three of the top ten have auctioned outside of New York; one in London and two in Paris. Four of the top five sales occurred in 2010, with the most recent being in November 2010. The most modern sculpture out of the top ten (L'Homme qui marche I) is also the most valuable, while the oldest (the Guennol Lioness) is the second most expensive.[9]

The top ten highest value sculptures were made by seven different people, two of whom are unknown and will never be identified. Alberto Giacometti's sculptures are the two most valuable modern works and he has a third entry in the top ten. Constantin Brâncuși is the only other artist to feature twice in the list.[9] Although Pablo Picasso only appears once, he features numerous times in the list of most expensive paintings.

Several buyers have chosen to remain anonymous, while others publicly celebrate their purchases.

List of highest prices paid[edit]

The ten highest prices paid for sculptures as of November 2013:[9][10]

Sale price (in millions US) Sculpture Artist Year Date of sale Seller Buyer Auction house Refs
$104.3 L'Homme qui marche I Giacometti, AlbertoAlberto Giacometti 1961 3 February 2010 Commerzbank Safra, LilyLily Safra Sotheby's, London [1]
$58.4 Balloon Dog (Orange)[note 1] Koons, JeffJeff Koons 1994–2000 12 November 2013 Private collection Private collection Christie's, New York [11]
$57.2
Guennol Lioness
c.3000 BC 5 December 2007 Martin, Alastair BradleyAlastair Bradley Martin Private collection Sotheby's, New York [5]
$53.3 Grande tête mince Giacometti, AlbertoAlberto Giacometti 1955 4 May 2010 Brody, Sidney F.Sidney F. Brody Private collection Christie's, New York [12]
$52.6 Tête Modigliani, AmedeoAmedeo Modigliani 1910–1912 14 June 2010 Levy, GastonGaston Levy Private collection Christie's, Paris [13][14]
$50.0 Grand tête mince (Grand tête de Diego) Giacometti, AlbertoAlberto Giacometti 1955 6 November 2013 Private collection Bill Acquavella Sotheby's, New York [15][16]
$48.8 Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV) Matisse, HenriHenri Matisse 1958 3 November 2010 Private collection Private collection Christie's, New York [17]
$37.6 Madame LR (Portrait de Mme LR) Brâncuși, ConstantinConstantin Brâncuși 1914–17 24 February 2009 Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Private collection Christie's, Paris [18]
$30.1 Reclining Figure: Festival Moore, HenryHenry Moore 1951 7 February 2012 Private collection Private collection Christie's, London [4]
$29.1 Tete de femme (Dora Maar) Picasso, PabloPablo Picasso 1941 7 November 2007 Private collection Giraud, FranckFranck Giraud Sotheby's, New York [4]
$28.6
Artemis and the Stag
c.100 BC – 100 AD 7 June 2007 Albright-Knox Art Gallery Private collection Sotheby's, New York [3]
$27.5 Bird in Space Brâncuși, ConstantinConstantin Brâncuși 1922–1923 5 May 2005 Private collection Private collection Christie's, New York [2]
$27.4 Grande Femme Debout II Giacometti, AlbertoAlberto Giacometti 1959–1960 6 May 2008 Private collection Gagosian Gallery Christie's, New York [19]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Most expensive sculpture by a living artist

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Giacometti Sculpture 'L'Homme qui marche I' Fetches $104.3 Million, World Record: Sotheby's (PHOTO). The Huffington Post. 5 April 2010. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b Sculpture breaks auction record. BBC News. 5 May 2005. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b West, Nina P. Artemis At The Top. Artfact.com, Forbes. 19 June 2007. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Crow, Kelly. Sotheby's "Aggressive" Sale Falls Flat. The Wall Street Journal. 8 November 2007. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b Lion sculpture gets record price. BBC News. 6 December 2007. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  6. ^ Owen, Glen. Dunbar, Polly. Did Damien Hirst really sell diamond skull for £50m?. The Daily Mail. 9 September 2007. Accessed 21 October 2011.
  7. ^ Connet, David. The mystery of the £50m skull: Is Hirst's record sale all it seems?. The Independent. 2 September 2007. Accessed 21 October 2011.
  8. ^ 2011 Auction Round-Up: Who's on Top and Who Flopped (PHOTOS, VIDEO). The Huffington Post. 13 August 2011. Accessed 5 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Fernández, G. Most Expensive Sculptures Ever Sold. theartwolf.com. November 2010. Accessed 19 October 2011.
  10. ^ Most Expensive Sculpture In The World. Art-Katalog.com. Accessed 4 November 2011.
  11. ^ Abramovitch, Seth. Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog Sculpture Sells for Record-Breaking $58.4 Million. The Hollywood Reporter. 12 November 2013. Accessed 12 November 2013.
  12. ^ Grande tête mince. Christie's. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  13. ^ Reyburn, Scott. Modigliani Sculpture Fetches 43.2 Million Euros, French Record. Bloomberg. 14 June 2010. Accessed 19 October 2011.
  14. ^ Gallery Talk: Amedeo Modigliani’s Tête. Christie's. 7 June 2010. Accessed 19 October 2011.
  15. ^ Crow, Kelly. Sotheby's Strong Sale Anchored by $50 Million Giacometti Bronze. The Wall Street Journal. 7 November 2013. Accessed 7 November 2013.
  16. ^ Impressionist and Modern Art Sale's Triumphant Results. Sotheby's. 6 November 2012. Accessed 7 November 2013.
  17. ^ In the Saleroom: Henri Matisse's Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV). Christie's. 4 November 2010. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  18. ^ Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.). Christie's. Accessed 20 October 2011.
  19. ^ Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). Accessed 20 October 2011.