This Picasso is Now the Most Expensive Painting Auctioned Ever

By Nick Cowen on at

What's the most expensive purchase you've ever made? A flat screen TV? A holiday abroad? A house (dear God, did you sell a kidney)? All of those seem pretty necessary buys, but art - as Oscar Wilde once put it - is useless. So how much would you be prepared to spend on art?

Well, one interested party- whose name hasn't been disclosed - recently dropped a whacking great $179 million (that's roughly  £115m) on a Picasso at auction. The painting - Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) - had been expected to fetch around $140 million tops, and its price tag now makes it the most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.

The previous most expensive work sold at auction, if you're interested, was Three Studies of Lucian Freud, triptych painted by Francis Bacon’s which was sold for $142.4m at Christie’s roughly two years ago.

Note that this doesn't make it the most expensive painting of all time - that honour still belongs to 'When Will You Marry', painted by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Guaguin, which reportedly sold for a whopping $300 million to a private collector (once again, whose identity remains a mystery.

If all of this sounds like millionaires slinging their case around in order to show off, bear in mind that art - along with bricks and mortar in London - is looked at as a pretty safe place to park any money the super rich want to invest. In the case of art, the value seems to be continually rising; the last time Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) was on the auction block it sold in 1997 for $31.9 million, meaning it had appreciated in value by $147.5 million in the past 18 years.