Pablo Picasso's 'Les Femmes d'Alger (Version O) at right and Alberto Giacometti's 'Man Pointing' at left sit in a room at Christie's in New York City. The Picasso masterpiece fetched more than $179 million, smashing the world record for the most expensive art sold at auction. The bronze statue by Giacometti sold for more than $141 million, setting a new record for the world's most expensive sculpture sold at auction.
Pablo Picasso's 'Les Femmes d'Alger (Version O) at right and Alberto Giacometti's 'Man Pointing' at left sit in a room at Christie's in New York City. The Picasso masterpiece fetched more than $179 million, smashing the world record for the most expensive art sold at auction. The bronze statue by Giacometti sold for more than $141 million, setting a new record for the world's most expensive sculpture sold at auction. - 
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This week, the art world saw two record breaking sales in the same auction. At Christie’s sale entitled “Looking Forward to the Past," Pablo Picasso's “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold for $179.4 million (with fees), shattering the previous record of $142.4 million for most expensive painting sold at auction. 

Alberto Giacometti's "Pointing Man" sculpture followed suit, eventually fetching a sale price of $141.3 million — the most paid for a sculpture at auction.

Given its origins in a well-regarded moment in Picasso's career, not to mention its size, “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” was considered by many art dealers to be an important sale, and a rare opportunity.

But don't count art critic Blake Gopnik among those who laud the painting as a work worth $179.4 million.

"One of the thing's about this picture is it's kind of a pastiche of earlier Picassos. It's like Picasso doing Picasso...And what do rich people want? They want Picasso-y looking pictures," Gopnik says.

Click the media player above to hear art critic Blake Gopnik's argument.

Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio