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Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 06:40 GMT
Auction record for Picasso
Auction
The Picasso sale was one of the highlights of a disappointing auction
Art lovers showed that blue is the colour of money when a record price of $55m was paid for a painting by Picasso at an auction in New York.

Woman with Arms Folded was completed in 1902 in Barcelona during the artist's Blue Period.

woman
Woman with Arms Folded: Mystery buyer
It was originally part of a collection owned by the American author, Gertrude Stein.

The new owner, who paid more than twice the pre-sale estimate, has not been named.

The sale, at Christie's Impressionist and modern act auction in New York, was also the fifth highest amount ever paid for any work of art at an auction.

And it produced the highest ever price for a work by sculptor Alberto Giacometti, or indeed for any sculpture.

'Selective' market

His Large Standing Woman sold for over $14.3m.

Aside from the records, the first major sale of the season was generally a disappointment, with several major works failing to find buyers.

Pablo Picasso
Picasso's reputation was enhanced by the portrait

Works by Monet, Manet, Gauguin, Cezanne and Degas, expected to sell for $5-10m, failed to make the agreed minimum price.

Christopher Burge, Christie's America honorary chairman, said that while the market for top quality works of art was strong, it was "more selective" regarding lesser works.

The auction house would have to learn its lessons and reassess its approach to the market, he said.

The "Woman with Arms Folded" is one of the best known paintings from Picasso's Blue Period, in which he portrayed sorrow set in a cold environment, exposing the cold and harsh aspects of the world and his own life.

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See also:

18 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Diva's Paris auction
23 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Shock art hits London
20 Sep 00 | Europe
'Giotto's remains found'
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