IT smashed records for the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction.

Going... going... gone!
Going… going… gone!

And now the deep-pocketed buyer of Picasso’s Women of Algiers has been revealed.

It was the billionaire former prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who handed over an incredible  €160 million for the work.

But it may never be exhibited in public due to the nudity in the painting upsetting Middle Eastern customs.

The painting is part of Malaga-born Picasso’s 15-work Women of Algiers series, which he started in 1954 shortly after the death of his friend and competitor, Henri Matisse.

And the frenzied bidding war lasted 11 and a half minutes as five keen buyers fought for the oil painting, at Christie’s in New York.

Applause broke out when auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen finalised the sale at €160.9 million, including just over 12% commission.

Christie’s confirmed it was the highest price any art work had ever been sold for at auction, a record previously held by British painter Francis Bacon’s ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’.

His painting sold for €127 million in 2013, also by Christie’s in New York.

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