Last month, an auction stunned the world when a Giacometti sculpture, L'Homme Qui Marche I, sold for an incredible £65,001,250 ($104,327,006) at the Sotheby's London Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale . It was only estimated at £12-18 million but it managed to set a world record as the most expensive piece of art ever to sell at auction. Now the name of the buyer has been revealed and it's a name we've heard before. Billionaire Lily Safra has been named by Bloomberg News as the deep-pocketed art lover. If the name sounds familiar on this blog, it's probably in connection with another name, Villa Leopolda. Safra, the widow of banker Edmond Safra who died in a fire in his apartment in 1999, owns the world's most expensive house. Villa Leopolda in the Cote d'Azur, once had a reported price tag of $750 million and was nearly sold to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. She also owns an apartment at 820 Fifth Avenue in New York City as well as a place in the Belgravia area of London which is where the statue was delivered.
The Bloomberg article on the big reveal of the Giacometti buyer has an interesting quote from Philip Hoffman, chief executive of the London-based Fine Art Fund, who calls the big sale "a freak result" and says that the sculpture is not an investment piece and not likely to rise exponentially in value over the next ten years. The article indicates that she had tried to buy a different cast of this same sculpture through a dealer but that deal was never made so the art may have more value for Lily Safra than it would for another buyer.