A painting of an unknown nude model created by Italian artist, Amedeo Modigliani, was sold for a whopping $170.4 million Monday. With this, Modigliani’s creation became the second-highest priced artwork to be sold at an auction.
Painted in 1917-18, the “Nu Couché” is considered as one of Modigliani’s best and most regarded creations. According to Artet News, the painting is “pure, quintessential Modigliani,” with exuberant colors, “lush paint handling” and “pulsing eroticism.” Calling it Modigliani’s “best nude and perhaps his best painting ever,” Artnet predicted the painting could be sold for more than $100 million.
Five buyers placed their bids for the painting, and it was sold in nine minutes, USA Today reports. The name of the buyer was not revealed.
The record for the highest amount paid for an artwork at an auction was set by Pablo Picasso’s painting “Women of Algiers (Version O),” which was sold $179.4 million at Christie’s in May. Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nurse” sold for $95.3 million – its previous auction record stood at $56 million.
Sarah Lichtman, assistant professor of design history at Parson School of Design, said that contemporary art created by celebrated artists does not require “a tremendous amount of aesthetic or intellectual risk on the part of the collector.” She added, “They are beautiful paintings — some even exceptional as is the Modigliani — but they are tried and true.”
According to US News and World Report, Christie’s sales in artwork are expected to cross $1 billion this week.
Although Modigliani wasn’t a highly regarded artist (he passed away in 1920 at an age of 35 years), he completed 350 paintings. Picasso, on the other hand, who died at 91 years, left thousands of pieces of art.
Modigliani is now the sixth artist to become a member of the $100 Million-at-Auction Club. Some of the other prestigious artists that constitute the club include Picasso, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Alberto Giacometti and Edvard Munch. Munch’s 1895 painting, “The Scream,” earned $120 million at an auction in New York in 2012.