In May, Christie's will offer Picasso's iconic Les Femmes d'Alger (1955), a painting that comes with a whopping $140 million estimate– yes that's just the estimate. Who puts an estimate like that on a painting? Having already notched the record for the highest ever painting at auction—Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.2 million in 2013—it seems the auction house is talking aim at the same nosebleed territory once again. Bold move either way.
The work carries a guarantee, though the house is reportedly not saying whether it financed that guarantee on its own or has enlisted a third party, as auction houses do more and more in an effort to mitigate risk.