NEW YORK (AP) — A painting by Amedeo Modigliani fetched $170.4 million at an auction Monday, setting a world record for the artist and achieving the second highest price ever garnered for a work of art at auction.
“Reclining Nude” was sold at Christie’s in Manhattan after a protracted bidding battle. Considered one of his best known works, the 1917-1918 painting nearly created a scandal when it was first exhibited in Paris. It depicts an unknown nude model reclining on a crimson couch and blue cushion.
The previous auction record for a Modigliani was $71 million.
The portrait’s first owner was Henri Matisse, who paid 200 francs for it in 1900. Later owners included John Quinn and Lillie Bliss, one of the original founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The current auction record for a Gauguin painting is $40.3 million.
Among other highlights of “The Artist’s Muse” sale is Pablo Picasso’s “Man with a Sword,” a self-portrait of the artist as a musketeer created in 1969 and estimated to bring as much $25 million. Christie’s said interest in Picasso’s late period musketeer portraits has grown dramatically in recent years.
Also of interest are two works by Lucian Freud.
“Naked Portrait on a Red Sofa” is a portrait of the artist’s daughter, the fashion designer Bella Freud. Its pre-sale estimate is $20 million to $30 million. One of a series of portraits of his daughters, it is the first time it’s being offered at auction.
On Tuesday, Christie’s is offering Freud’s “Brigadier,” a portrait of Andrew Parker Bowles, the former husband of Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the wife of Prince Charles. It was on view at the 2012 retrospective of the artist at the National Portrait Gallery in London and portrays the career soldier wearing his sumptuous army brigadier uniform. It’s estimated to sell for around $30 million.
Tuesday’s post-war and contemporary art sale also has a mammoth bronze “Spider” sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, estimated at $25 million to $35 million. If realized, that price would exceed the artist’s current auction record of $10.7 million and set a record for a sculpture by a female artist.
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