A painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani sold for $170,405,000 at a Christie’s auction Monday night.
The painting, entitled “Nu Couché,” depicts a naked women reclining.
The only painting to sell for more at auction than “Nu Couché” is Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),” which took the record in May when it sold for $179.4 million, also at Christie’s.
The painting’s sale took nine minutes and the winning bid came via telephone, well over the guaranteed price of $100 million, according to The New York Times.
The 1917-1918 canvas caused scandal in the early 20th-century art world for its bold depiction of a naked woman.
In the painting’s notes, Christie’s presented a “limited” bibliography of 71 published works featuring “Nu Couché.”
The Times reports that the next highest price paid for a Modigliani is the $70.7 million paid for his sculpture “Tête,” a year ago. Another Modigliani, “Paulette Jourdain,” sold for $42,810,000 last week at Sotheby’s during the sale of works from the collection of A. Alfred Taubman. The “Masterworks” auction from the Taubman collection brought in a total of $377,034,000.
Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nurse,” not seen on the market for 20 years, sold for $95,365,000 at the same Monday night auction as “Nu Couché.”
Another three Lichtensteins were on sale, two of which sold. His work, generally pop art canvases which adapt comic book style, had previously sold for up to $56 million.
Christie’s is expecting to sell at least $1 billion of art over this week, according to the Associated Press, and it is nearly halfway there. The 34 lots on auction Monday night, including the buyer’s premium, brought in over $491.3 million, though only 24 of the lots sold.
“There is clearly good appetite among collectors for exceptional works of art offered with appropriate estimates,” Brook Hazelton, president of the Americas for Christie’s, told The Associated Press. “This is a very broad and globally diverse market at the moment, with strong interest in paintings, sculpture and works on paper from the $10,000 level straight up to multimillion-dollar masterpieces at the top end.”
A nude by Lucian Freud, which Christie’s estimated would sell for $20 million to $30 million, held the highest estimate of the non-selling lots. Ana Maria Celis, a specialist in post-war and contemporary art for Christie’s, was quoted in The Times calling the work “almost contemplative” compared to the centerpiece “Nu Couché.”