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Chinese collector buys painting for $170.4 million

A Chinese collector snapped up a painting by the Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani for $170.4 million at an auction at Christie’s in New York on Monday,

This set a world record for the artist and achieving the second highest price ever garnered for a work of art at auction.

Modigliani lived from 1884-1920 and is known mainly for his portraits and nudes. Translated into Pak Rupees, the painting cost Rs 17.92 billion.

The auction also set world auction records for US pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, whose “Nurse” fetched $95.37 million, as well as for 19th century French painter Gustave Courbet.

It raked in a total of $491.35 million, busting pre-sale estimates of $443 million marking a return to form after a sluggish opening auction at Sotheby’s suggested that bumper profits might be levelling off.

Modigliani’s “Nu Couche” or “Reclining Nude”, painted in 1917-18, sold after a frantic nine-minute bidding war between seven would-be buyers on the first time the painting has ever come to auction.

Modigliani

Italian painter and sculptor Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920).

 

It was the second highest price ever achieved at auction for a work or art and applause erupted in the packed room when the sale concluded — clinched by a Chinese buyer on the telephone, Christie’s said.

It was just $9 million shy of the world record of $179.4 million for Picasso’s “The Women of Algiers (Version 0)” — which the auction house sold in New York last May in a record-breaking spring season.

“We are in a masterpiece market,” said Jussi Pylkkanen, who led the auction, adding that the rare and important works on offer “created a huge amount of energy and biding.”

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The painting has exhibited in some of the finest art galleries all over the world including at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

The previous record for a Modigliani was $70.7 million set in November 2014 for a sculpture.

The evening sale entitled “The Artist’s Muse” also set a new record at auction for Lichtenstein, with his “Nurse” selling for $95.37 million. That made it a shrewd investment for the seller, who acquired the iconic piece of American pop art and comic book-inspired portrait for $1.65 million in 1995.

 

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