NEW YORK, May 5 (UPI) -- Pablo Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" sold for nearly $106.5 million Tuesday, the most ever paid for a piece of art at auction, officials said.
The sale surpassed the previous record of $104.3 million paid for an Alberto Giacometti sculpture, "L'Homme qui marche I," at a Sotheby's auction in London in February.
Bidding started at $58 million, and eight bidders competed for it in person and by phone. By the time the price hit $88 million, there were just two bidders left to battle it out. The entire episode took just 9 minutes from start to finish.
The 1932 Picasso piece depicting his muse and mistress Marie-Therese Walter helped push the total for the auction of Impressionist and Modern art to just under $335.6 million, the auction house said.
"Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" was part of the collection of the late Los Angeles philanthropist Frances Lasker Brody, who purchased it for $17,000 in 1950.
"This was a stellar night for Christie's and for the art market," Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas, said in a statement on the company's Web site. "The sale was led by exceptional prices for works by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Henri Matisse from the Brody collection, one of the greatest private collections to come to market.
"In addition, we witnessed great depth of bidding and strong results for important works from other American and European collections, including additional paintings by Picasso and works by Giacometti and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. We are honored to have been entrusted with so many remarkable works this season, and we are delighted to have delivered such positive results, including three new world auction records for Picasso, Georges Braque, and Jean-Francois Raffaelli."
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