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Giacometti sculpture, Picasso painting poised to break auction records

Giacometti sculpture, Picasso painting poised to break records at Christie's auction in May

Sculptures by Alberto Giacometti have commanded stratospheric sums at auction in recent years. Next month, another work by the late Swiss artist is expected to repeat the phenomenon.

"L'homme au doigt (Pointing Man)," one of Giacometti's most recognizable works, will be offered at Christie's in New York on May 11. The auction house estimates that it will sell in the realm of $130 million, which would be an auction record for a sculpture.

Christie's said this will mark the first time that the bronze has been put up at auction. The artist made six casts of the work, with four residing in museums and the others in foundation and private collections. The bronze piece, which stands 5 feet, 10 inches tall, was created in the spindly style that is the artist's creative signature. 

The auction house identified the seller only as a private collector who has held the work for 45 years.

Last year, the Giacometti sculpture "Chariot" brought in $101 million at a Sotheby's auction. The buyer was Steven Cohen, the billionaire hedge fund manager and art collector. In 2010, the artist's "Walking Man I" brought in $104.3 million. 

As previously announced, Christie's will also offer a 1955 Picasso canvas, "Les Femmes d'Alger (Version O)," at the May 11 auction.

The work is estimated to be worth about $140 million, which means it could challenge the current record holder for the most expensive artwork sold at auction -- the Francis Bacon triptych painting of Lucian Freud that brought in $142.4 million in 2013.

The Christie's auction, titled "Looking Forward to the Past," will feature about 30 works.

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