In the art world, something new and exciting is always around the corner and this time it’s a century old painting by Modigliani. The 1917 painting titled “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)” sold at a Sotheby’s auction in New York for the astronomical sum of $157.2 million. This is one of the artist’s largest works and was once considered controversial as it features a reclining nude woman. At the time of its first debut at a gallery, police arrived to shut down the show because it had attracted a large crowd.
Modigliani’s works have not fared as well as other artists like Picasso, in recent years, and even though this isn’t a record sale for the artist (the most expensive Modigliani was a different nude which sold in 2015 for $170m), it indicates a renewed interest in the artist’s work. Even Sotheby’s confidently estimated that this painting would bring in around $150m, a sum much higher than the $100m estimate Christie’s announced for Salvatore Mundi which is now a world record holder after selling for an eye watering $450m. In fact the estimate for this painting was reportedly the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art at auction.
While the painting could not secure a world record it did set a record for the auction house Sotheby’s, for whom this is the most expensive painting ever sold. Presently we have no information about who purchased this painting, but as with other high profile sales, the information is bound to come out sooner or later.