The world’s most expensive sculptures at auction

Written by Brian Boucher, CNN

Humankind has had artistic impulses dating back to at least the Paleolithic era, when the earliest known cave paintings and stone figurines were created. And for untold years, humans have collected these works of art. Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the auction house duopoly, have brought buyers and sellers together for centuries, with buyers competing in adrenaline-pumping bidding wars.

While the art market has experienced ups and downs along with the wider economy, it has seen giddy highs in recent decades, with some of the major auctions setting records for various artists in a single night. The most expensive artwork ever sold at auction was Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Christ, “Salvator Mundi,” which hammered down at an unbelievable $450.3 million in 2017 at Christie’s.

While sculpture hasn’t reached quite that high, prices for sculpture are also stratospheric, with some 11 works selling for north of $50 million — all since 2010.

Here’s a roundup of the 10 most expensive sculptures ever to sell at auction. Buyers are indicated where they are known; the mega-rich often like to hide their identity by bidding via proxies. (Numbers geeks, take note: These prices are not corrected for inflation.)

1. ‘L’Homme au doigt’ (1947) by Alberto Giacometti

"L'Homme au doigt" (1947) by Alberto Giacometti

“L’Homme au doigt” (1947) by Alberto Giacometti Credit: Giacometti Foundation

Price: $141.3 million

Where and when: Christie’s New York, 2015

Buyer: Hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen, per the New York Post

What makes it so appealing: This six-foot-tall painted bronze sculpture of

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