$95 Million for Picasso
$95Million for a painting? Picasso or not, clearly this person — the purchaser, whoever he is, has lost perspective. I mean, no painting, no matter how brilliant should be worth that much.
Mystery Bidder Spends $95 Million on a Picasso
By CAROL VOGEL, New York Times, Published: May 4, 2006
A man appearing to be in his mid-40’s, wearing a blue blazer and a cream-colored shirt, persistently waved paddle No. 1340 from far back in Sotheby’s salesroom last night to spend $95.2 million on a Picasso portrait of his mistress Dora Maar. It became the second highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction, after “Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice),” a 1905 painting from Picasso’s Rose Period, which brought $104.1 million at Sotheby’s in May 2004.
The buyer, unrecognized by the crowds who kept craning their necks to get a glimpse of him bidding, was said by those who sat near him to sound Russian. Refusing to identify himself, he was escorted out a side door by a Sotheby’s staff member after the sale to avoid the throngs of television cameras and reporters.
He was obviously new to both Sotheby’s executives, who would never have seated him in such a remote spot had they realized what a big spender he would be, and to the auction process, as evidenced by the relentless and unsophisticated manner in which he waved his paddle. (More seasoned buyers would have been more discreet and wily.)
And he did not come just to buy the Picasso. Earlier he snapped up an 1883 Monet seascape for $5 million and later a 1978 Chagall biblical scene, “Paradise,” for $2.5 million, spending a total of $102.7 million.
The anonymous buyer ended up supplying nearly half the revenue of the entire evening in a sale that totaled $207.5 million, above its high estimate of $190.8 million. Of the 55 lots, only 7 failed to sell.