Painting Sells For $170 Million At Auction

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Christie's auction house in New YorkChristie's auction house in New York

Like many great artists, Amedeo Modigliani didn’t achieve significant financial success during his brief life. Now, 95 years after his death, his artwork is breaking records.

Modigliani’s 1917-18 painting “Nu couche,” or "Reclining Nude," was bought at an auction on Nov. 9 for $170 million after a bidding war at Christie’s in New York, The Associated Press reports.

It was the second-most expensive piece of art bought at auction, surpassed by Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O),” which sold for $179.4 million in May.

The Modigliani painting was reportedly bought by Chinese billionaire investor Liu Yiqian and his wife, Wang Wei.

Modern, impressionist and contemporary works of art “do not require a tremendous amount of aesthetic or intellectual risk on the part of the collector," Sarah Lichtman, assistant professor of design history at Parson School of Design, told AP. "They are beautiful paintings, some even exceptional as is the Modigliani, but they are tried and true."

This isn’t the first time “Nu couche” has been in the news. When Modigliani debuted the painting in Paris, it was considered scandalous.

According to Christie’s, the painting “is one of the finest, best known and most admired of this extraordinary series of determinedly joyous, sensual, erotic and life-affirming nudes made” at the time.

Sources: AP via The Guardian, Christie’s / Photo credit: Wikipedia