Picasso Painting Sets Art Auction Record: $106.5 Million


"Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust", a 1932 work by Pablo Picasso, last night became the most expensive painting ever sold at auction:

"In an overflowing salesroom at Christie’s, six bidders vied for 'Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,' which depicts the artist’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, reclining naked. When the canvas last changed hands, in 1951, it sold for $19,800. But this time, 'Nude, Green Leaves and Bust' brought $106.5 million.

For 8 minutes and 6 seconds, bidding rose steadily, with five people still competing at $80 million. Nicholas Hall, of Christie’s old master paintings department in New York, took the winning bid for an unidentified buyer."

The painting was part of the collection of the late L.A. philanthropist Frances Lasker Brody. Picasso painted it in a single day.


  1. Wes says

    Not worth it. Think of the kind of sprawling estate you could buy with that money, where each fixture is its own piece of art.

  2. Andrew says

    i agree with you wes-stupid waste of money. one person’s stroke at ego-yawn.

  3. Steve says

    “Worth it”? There is a difference between commerce and art. The $100MM price tag reflects how contemporary art has been commercialized as “things” that rich people can now get. It’s purely about supply and demand. In that context, considering Picasso’s prodigious output, I wonder how each of his pieces can command such high prices.

    As for artistic value – Picasso’s brilliance, especially when viewed in a historical context, is not to be overstated. This piece in particular manages to be erotic, amusing, angry, bemused and whimsical all at the same time, and that makes it unique and invaluable.

  4. crispy says

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen real live boobies, but I’m pretty sure something ain’t right about hers.

  5. rovex says

    I realise art is a personal thing, but some people see things that just arent there in art like this. Steve, that picture has little or none of the things you ascribed to it. Chances are the new owner just wanted an ego boost, or a way to spend his wasted billions, he neither likes it or understands it.

  6. Skooter McGoo says

    How many people could $106 million feed? Show’s exactly what is wrong with humans, truly a waste of $$$ and blood.

  7. Wes says

    Lets be real, if this was done by some art student nobody, no one would care. Not saying its bad because it isn’t, but there is so much fantastic art in the world.

  8. booka says

    They should burn it. That we live in such a world that some people have so much $ to waste in such a way, and for millions of people to starve & die of disease is criminal. Also as an Artist, I’m even more horrified by the fact that Art is no longer the panacea of our world or noble highest expression, but an investment and ego gratification, for people that obviously don’t even understand it…Ridiculous.

  9. Chitown Kev says


    While it’s easy for me to show outrage about overpriced art, if I had $106 million dollars laying around and there was a Picasso out there somewhere, I’d pay for it, for sure.

    Funny, though, this particular work looks about…10-15 years earlier but then again, it does have a similar style to “Guernica” so…

  10. robert says

    rovex: “I realise art is a personal thing, but some people see things that just arent there in art like this.”

    i can’t help but see that as a contradiction. either works of art have a single, universal interpretation or they do not: there is no middle ground. like steve, i find the painting whimsical in the interplay of angular and curvaceous lines; erotic in the face of the reclining woman. if you can defend your interpretation by citing the work in question, then the interpretation is valid. if there can be only one meaning to a piece of art, then interpretation is reduced to mere sleuthing out the creator’s intentions. freed from such narrow limits, works of art produce ever-new meanings as context changes and the question is not “what does the creator intend here” but rather “how does this piece function, and what does it mean for me? for humanity?”

  11. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    “At auction” is the key variable to remember. Having recently had the thrill of seeing several original Gustav Klimt paintings in Vienna, and being shocked by the breadth of his style, I recall that the claim to “most expensive painting ever” goes to his “Adele Bloch-Bauer I” which Ronald Lauder bought directly, although with help from Christie’s, for an alleged $135 million from its owner, a niece of the subject who it back from the the Austrian government.

    I, too, no matter how wealthy I might be, could never justify to myself paying even one-tenth that much for a painting, but were I forced to yet could choose it would definitely be the Klimt over the Picasso.


    Alas, like gilded cockroaches, les nouveaux riches will apparently always be with us. For another $43.5 million, the Picasso buyer could have had the giant house indiscriminate queens helped build: Candy Spelling’s “Manor,” including bedrooms with matching candy and roses. Lady Spelling let Madison’s reaction help determine the agent with whom she listed it. What? Oh…he’s her Wheaten Terrier. Didn’t you know that, Silly Rabbit?


  12. ajd says

    To all those who say, “This is a waste of money,” and “Think of how many people this could feed:

    How many times do you go by Starbucks? McDonald’s? How many times do you eat out or buy a pack of cigarettes? Why didn’t you donate that money to charity?

    Because it’s YOU’RE money, and you’d be damned if you’re going to let someone tell you how to spend it.

    Oh wait…