List of most expensive sculptures  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

This is a list of the highest known prices paid for sculptures.


Most valuable sculpture

Alberto Giacometti's L'Homme qui marche I achieved the highest price of any sculpture ever sold when it was auctioned by Sotheby's in February 2010. Selling for US$ 104.3 million, it ranks amongst the most valuable works of art.

In 2005 Constantin Brâncuși's Bird in Space broke records when it sold for $27.5 million. The record stood for two years until a highly-regarded work of antiquity surpassed the price. Artemis and the Stag, found in the 1920s at a Roman construction site, fetched $28.6 million in June 2007. The new record would only stand for a few months with a work by Pablo Picasso's Tete de femme (Dora Maar) surpassing it by half a million US dollars in November 2007.

In December 2007 the sale of the Guennol Lioness, a statue from around 3000 BC, nearly doubled the previous record price when it sold for $57.2 million. It remains the second most valuable sculpture and the most valuable piece from antiquity.

Damien Hirst has claimed that his sculpture For the Love of God, which consists of a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, was sold for £50 million (around US$75 million) in August 2007. The truth of this private sale, which was to an unknown consortium, has been called into question. David Lee, editor of The Jackdaw, commented "Everyone in the art world knows Hirst hasn't sold the skull. It's clearly just an elaborate ruse to drum up publicity and rewrite the book value of all his other work." If the sale did take place For the Love of God would become the second most expensive sculpture ever sold and would have fetched the highest price for a sculpture by a living artist.

2010 was a good year for record-breaking sculpture prices but it did not continue into 2011. Jeff Koons' porcelain Pink Panther was estimated to fetch a value of up to $30 million but could only achieve just over half that.

Auction details

All of the most expensive sculptures have been sold by one of two auction houses: Sotheby's and Christie's. Sotheby's has hosted the auctions of the two works that reached the highest price, one in London and the other in New York. Only three of the top ten have auctioned outside of New York: one in London and two in Paris. Four of the top five sales occurred in 2010 with the most recent being in November 2010. The most modern sculpture out of the top ten is also the most valuable, while the oldest is the second most expensive.

The top ten highest value sculptures were made by seven different people, two of whom are unknown and will never be identified. Alberto Giacometti's sculptures are the two most valuable modern works and he has a third entry in the top ten. Constantin Brâncuși is the only other artist to feature twice in the list. Though Pablo Picasso only appears once he features numerous times in the list of most expensive paintings.

Several buyers have chosen to remain anonymous while others publicly celebrate their purchases.

Ten highest prices paid

The ten highest prices paid for sculptures Template:As of:

Sale price (in millions US) Sculpture Artist Year Date of sale Seller Buyer Auction house Refs
$104.3 L'Homme qui marche I Template:Sortname 1961 Template:Dts Commerzbank Template:Sortname Sotheby's, London <ref name="NewsHomme" />
$57.2 Template:Ntsh c.3000 BC Template:Dts Template:Sortname Private collection Sotheby's, New York <ref name="NewsGuennol" />
$53.3 Grande tête mince Template:Sortname 1955 Template:Dts Template:Sortname Private collection Christie's, New York <ref name="ChristieMince">Grande tête mince. Christie's. Accessed 20 October 2011.</ref>
$52.6 Tête Template:Sortname 1910–1912 Template:Dts Template:Sortname Private collection Christie's, Paris <ref name="NewsTête">Reyburn, Scott. Modigliani Sculpture Fetches 43.2 Million Euros, French Record. Bloomberg. 14 June 2010. Accessed 19 October 2011.</ref><ref name="ChristieTête">Gallery Talk: Amedeo Modigliani’s Tête. Christie's. 7 June 2010. Accessed 19 October 2011.</ref>
$48.8 Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV) Template:Sortname 1958 Template:Dts Private collection Private collection Christie's, New York <ref name="ChristieMatisse">In the Saleroom: Henri Matisse's Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV). Christie's. 4 November 2010. Accessed 20 October 2011.</ref>
$37.6 Madame LR (Portrait de Mme LR) Template:Sortname 1914–17 Template:Dts Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Private collection Christie's, Paris <ref name="ChristieMadame">Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.). Christie's. Accessed 20 October 2011.</ref>
$29.1 Tete de femme (Dora Maar) Template:Sortname 1941 Template:Dts Private collection Template:Sortname Sotheby's, New York <ref name="CrowWSJ" />
$28.6 Template:Ntsh c.100 BC – 100 AD Template:Dts Albright-Knox Art Gallery Private collection Sotheby's, New York <ref name="WestForbes" />
$27.5 Bird in Space Template:Sortname 1922–1923 Template:Dts Private collection Private collection Christie's, New York <ref name="BirdBBC" />
$27.4 Grande Femme Debout II Template:Sortname 1959–1960 Template:Dts Private collection Gagosian Gallery Christie's, New York <ref name="ChristieGrandeFemme">Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). Accessed 20 October 2011.</ref>

See also

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