One of Picasso’s Works Becomes the Most Expensive Artwork Sold

July 4, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. auction / ˈɔk ʃən / (n.) – an event wherein items are sold to the person who bids the highest
Example: The auction sold many paintings.

2. scanty / ˈskæn ti / (adj.) – very revealing
Example: The women in the painting wore scanty clothes.

3. sketch / skɛtʃ / (n.) – a rough draft or drawing of something
Example: Before I paint, I make several sketches first.

4. distorted / dɪˈstɔr tɪd / (adj.) – being changed from its natural form
Example: Picasso’s painting has women with distorted figures.

5. radical / ˈræd ɪ kəl / (adj.) – different from the traditional way
Example: He lost a lot of friends because of his radical opinions.


Read the text below.
One of Pablo Picasso’s paintings has become the most expensive artwork ever auctioned as of May this year.

The auction called “Looking Forward to the Past” featured Picasso’s Women of Algiers [al-JEERZ] and other impressionist and modern artworks. Christie’s, the auction house that organized the event, estimated that Picasso’s painting would be sold for about $140 million. But as the event ended, the painting’s price reached $179,365,000.

The Women of Algiers is a cubist oil painting that is part of Picasso’s 15-work series created between 1954 and 1955. Picasso, a radical artist and the co-creator of Cubism, first started working on the sketch of this painting in the 1940s. He then took inspiration from the works of Eugene Delacroix [duh-la-KRWAH], a French artist, in the Louvre [LOO-ver] Museum in Paris.

The painting features women wearing scanty outfits and with distorted bodies, showing both the front and back views of the women. The artwork has already been featured in several major museums. Its last owners were American collectors Victor and Sally Ganz.

The Women of Algiers is just one of the most expensive artworks in the world. Other very expensive paintings include Paul Gauguin’s [goh-GAN] When Will You Marry, Paul Cézanne’s [si-ZAN] The Card Players, Willem de Kooning’s [VIL-uh m duh KOO-ning] Woman III, Jackson Pollock’s [POL-uh k] No. 5, 1948, Mark Rothko’s [ROTH-koh] No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), and Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think makes an artwork expensive?
·         Why do you think some people are willing to spend large amounts of money for artworks?

Discussion B

·         Would you be willing to spend your money to buy an artwork? Why or why not?
·         If you could purchase any artwork in the world, what would it be and why?

July 4, 2015