Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man 1” sculpture has smashed global auction records by selling for the equivalent of $104.4m at Sotheby’s auction house in London last night. “In a tense contest at the company’s London salesroom, bidding on the spindly bronze ‘Walking Man I’ began at £12 million and quickly escalated, with roughly 10 bidders vying for the sculpture. The winner bid over the telephone and chose to remain anonymous. The sale breaks the previous $104.2 million auction record, set six years ago at Sotheby’s, for Pablo Picasso’s 1906 portrait ‘Boy With a Pipe,’ whose buyer remains unknown. The lofty price for the Giacometti work came as a surprise to Sotheby’s, which had expected the sculpture to sell for around one-fourth of the final price. David Nahmad, a Monte Carlo-based art dealer who vied unsuccessfully for the Giacometti sculpture, said the sale shows that after a weak year, the wealthy are once again ‘parking their cash in art.’ The six-foot-tall bronze depicts a wiry man in mid-stride, his right foot jutting forward, his head erect and his arms hanging at his side.”
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