Auction Highlights - Picasso's Women of Algiers

Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger

It is no surprise that when a Picasso hits the auction rooms the stakes are going to be high. But when the famous painting, Women of Algiers, by the revolutionary Spanish artist came up on the block on May 11th at Christie’s in New York, it broke an all-time record. Selling for $179M (US), Picasso’s Women of Algiers is the most expensive painting to be sold at auction.

The Women of Algiers is an historical piece that reflects the uprising of the French colony in Algiers at the time. Part of a 15-work collection that Picasso created from 1954 to 1955, this painting pays tribute to his dear friend, Henri Matisse, and to the style of Cezanne and El Greco:

"This is an absolutely blockbuster picture - it's one of the most exciting pictures that we've seen on the market for 10 years," said Philip Hoffman, founder and CEO of the Fine Art Fund Group.

The Women of Algiers wasn’t the only record-setting sale at the Looking Forward To The Past auction. Alberto Giacometti's sculpture, Pointing Man, set its own record and sold for $141.3M. It was a great day for Christie’s, selling 34 of 35 lots for a total of $706 million.

Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann Art Deco Armchairs

Next up is a pair of beautiful French Art Deco chairs by famous French Designer Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879–1933). Known for using rare and exotic woods in his furniture, Ruhlmann is considered one of the finest furniture designers of the 18th century. A perfectionist who spared no expense, Ruhlmann would make sure every masterpiece was perfect before leaving the cabinetmaking shop, even if it meant starting over from scratch.

These magnificent macassar ebony and silvered bronze Cannelé armchairs were created for the Viville-Yardley Showroom, Paris, circa 1926, and were later housed in The Toledo Museum of Art since 1970. They sold for $81,250 (US) on June 11, 2015 at Bonhams in New York.

Ruhlmann’s furniture can be found in museums like The Metropolitan Museum of Art History.

Rare Hermès Birkin Bag

Bringing things back into the 20th century, we turn to Christie’s Hong Kong, where this time, we find a rare Hermès Birkin bag that sold at auction for HK$1.72m or $222,942 (US).

Some people are calling this bag the most expensive to be sold at auction; however, just last year a Himalayan Hèrmes Birkin bag sold for $432,000.

Named after British actor and singer, Jane Birkin, each bag takes 48 hours of painstaking craftsmanship to create. Christie’s describe this bag "an exceptional shiny fuchsia porosus crocodile diamond Birkin 35 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware."

This was just one bag from a lot of 300 limited editions that sold on June 1, 2015.

The local area is home to the famous Canada Dry Ginger Ale Company, which was founded by John J. (Jack) McLaughlin. The McLaughlin family’s other business was General Motors of Canada. He, like so many of the others, was a pharmacist and chemist by trade. Starting in 1890 he opened a small factory in Toronto to bottle water and soda water. The soda water was sold to drug stores which employed it to mix with fruit juices and other flavoured extracts.

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