The painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, ‘Nu couché’ (reclining nude), from early 20th-century, was sold on Monday night for $170.4 million at Christie’s New York.
It marks a second highest price for an artwork sold at an auction. In May, Women of Algiers (Version O) by Pablo Picasso sold for $179 million at Christie’s, and holds the record for the highest price paid for a painting.
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Modigliani’s painting from 1917- 1918, was sold to Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei, founders of Shanghai’s private art museums—the Long Museum Pudong and Long Museum West Bund.
The Financial Times reports that Liu, one of China’s many rags-to-riches billionaires, and his wife have one of China’s most valuable art collections. Liu, who worked as a taxi driver in Shanghai, made his fortunes trading the Chinese stock markets in the 1990s. The billionaire was in the news in July this year for drinking tea from a 500-year old ceramic bowl that once belonged to a Chinese emperor. Over 20 years, Liu and his wife have collected artworks under three main classifications—Chinese traditional art, Chinese revolutionary art, and modern and contemporary art.
The Guardian reports that ‘Nu couché’ became the 10th painting to reach nine figures under auction. The artwork took nine minutes to sell, with six people bidding for it. The other works of art that were auctioned included “Paul Gauguin’s sculpture ‘Therese’, which sold for $30, 965, 000 and Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Nurse’, which fetched $95, 365, 000, a new world auction record for the artist and was the second-biggest seller of the night, ” reports the BBC.
“The price was a high for Modigliani at auction, beating the $70.7 million paid in New York last November for his 1911-12 sculpture “Tête.” His “Portrait de Paulette Jourdain, ” from around 1919, sold for $42.8 million at Sotheby’s sale of the A. Alfred Taubman estate last week, well over its estimate of $25 million, ” reports The New York Times.