UPDATE 2-Giacometti breaks auction record at Sotheby’s

* Statue sold for four times pre-sale expectations

* Price reached in eight minutes of “furious” bidding

(adds more background, sale total)

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – A bronze statue by Swiss sculptor
Alberto Giacometti broke the record for a work of art at auction
on Wednesday, selling for 65 million pounds ($104.3 million) at
Sotheby’s in London.

The price, which includes buyer’s premium, just eclipsed
Picasso’s “Garcon a la Pipe”, which fetched $104.2 million in
New York in 2004.

The life-size “L’homme qui marche I” (Walking Man I) was the
first time a Giacometti figure of a walking man on such a large
scale had come to auction in over 20 years, and its hammer price
was around four times the auctioneer’s pre-sale expectations.

The statue was sold by German banking firm Commerzbank AG,
which acquired it when it took over Dresdner Bank in 2009.
Dresdner acquired the sculpture in 1980.

The record was reached in just eight minutes of “fast and
furious” bidding, according to Sotheby’s, with at least 10
potential purchasers battling it out for the rare work in a
hushed sale room.

Sotheby’s did not identify the buyer, saying only that it
was an anonymous telephone bidder.

The result confirms what recent auction results had already
suggested — that the art market has recovered from a shaky year
when the financial crisis hit prices as well as the volume of
works changing hands, without causing a full-scale collapse.

KLIMT ALSO SHINES

In the same impressionist and modern art sale, a rare
landscape by Gustav Klimt fetched 26.9 million pounds ($43.2
million), well above its pre-sale estimate of 12-18 million
pounds.

The 1913 painting “Kirche in Cassone” once belonged to the
Austro-Hungarian iron magnate and collector Victor Zuckerkandl
and his wife Paula, but when the Jewish couple died childless in
1927 it was left to Viktor’s sister.

She died in the Holocaust and the painting went missing
during the Nazi period, only to resurface at an exhibition
decades later.

In one of the most important restitution cases for several
years, the painting was offered for sale following an agreement
between the European private collector who owned it and Georges
Jorisch, the 81-year-old great nephew of the original owner.

“Today’s sale closes a long-open chapter in my life in which
I recover a part of my forbears’ legacy and pass it on to future
generations, just as my parents would have wished,” Jorisch said
in a statement.

Sotheby’s raised 146.8 million pounds from the auction
overall, far beyond expectations of 69-102 million pounds and
the highest total for any auction in London.

Melanie Clore, co-chairman of impressionist and modern art
at Sotheby’s said: “The competition which generated these
exceptional results demonstrates the continued quest for quality
that compels today’s collectors.”

Stock Research Tools

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

UPDATE 2-Giacometti breaks auction record at Sotheby’s