art & design

Christie’s New York: Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché sold for $170 mln

Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché

The defining masterpiece of Modigliani’s art, this life-affirming work is a lesson in erotic education — offered as part of the curated sale The Artist’s Muse on Monday 9 November at Christie’s New York

Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché is one of the great, undisputed facts of his extraordinary life and tragically brief, but brilliant, artistic career. It is one of the defining masterpieces of his work: a seamless fusion of classical idealism, sensual realism and modernist invention. It is a work that reaches the lofty heights of Modigliani’s long-held ambition to create a sublime sculptural icon in the form of a woman ­– what he called a ‘column of tenderness’ – while acknowledging the gritty reality of his bohemian life as an impoverished émigré eking out an existence in a poor district of Paris.

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Realistic enough to seduce, yet stylized to the point that it stands as an idealized vision, Nu couché is no portrait, but rather a great artist’s paean to idea of the beauty of life itself. It is one of the finest and most admired of an extraordinary series of joyous, sensual, erotic and life-affirming nudes. Modigliani painted Nu Couché in an intense spate of creativity from the winter of 1917 onwards. It was, by all accounts, the product of several hours of intense, feverish work painting ‘orgasmically’, according to the painter Tsuguharu Foujita, in a small, poorly furnished room, alone with his model, two chairs, a couch and a bottle of brandy during what was probably the worst year of the Great War. It is a defiant life-affirming ‘yes-saying’ to life made directly in the face of great personal adversity during one of the darkest and most traumatic periods of the 20th century.


TOP TEN RESULTS | THE ARTIST’S MUSE: AN EVENING SALE | NEW YORK | NOVEMBER 9, 2015

 The Artist’s Muse: A Curated Evening Sale 

New York, 9 November 2015, Sale #3789

[All sold prices include buyer’s premium]

24 lots sold

Total: $491,352,000/ £325,830,239/ €455,184,844

71% sold by lot 

34 lots offered

£0.66= $1 / €0.93=$1

87% sold by value

Lot

Description

Estimate ($)

Price Realized

Buyer

8A

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Nu couché, oil on canvas, Painted in 1917-1918

WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

Estimate on request

$170,405,000

£113,000,663

€157,861,926

Anonymous

13A

Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Nurse, oil and Magna on canvas, Painted in 1964

WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

Estimate on request

$95,365,000

£63,239,390

€88,345,428

Anonymous

5A

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Thérèse, carved miro wood, gold gilding and copper nails, Executed circa 1902-1903; unique

WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR A SCULPTURE BY THE ARTIST 

$18,000,000 – $25,000,000

$30,965,000

£20,533,820

€28,685,746

Anonymous

20A

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Homme à l’épée, oil on panel

Painted on 25 July 1969

Estimate on request

$22,565,000

£14,963,528

€20,904,048

Anonymous

7A

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), L’homme à la pipe(Étude pour un joueur de cartes) (recto); Père…, watercolor on paper (recto); pencil on paper (verso), Painted in 1892-1896 (recto); Drawn in 1890-1892 (verso)

 

$18,000,000 – $25,000,000

$20,885,000

£13,849,469

€19,347,709

Anonymous

19A

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), James Lord, oil on canvas, Painted in 1964

$22,000,000 – $30,000,000

$20,885,000

£13,849,469

$19,347,709

Anonymous

10A

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), Femme nue couchée, oil on canvas, Painted in 1862

WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

$15,000,000 – $25,000,000

$15,285,000

£10,135,942

€14,159,910

Anonymous

3A

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Im See badende Mädchen, Moritzburg, oil on canvas, Painted in Moritzburg, 1909

 

$10,000,000 – $15,000,000

$13,605,000

£9,021,883

€12,603,571

Anonymous

6A

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Jeune homme à la fleur, oil on canvas, Painted in Tahiti, 1891

 

$12,000,000 – $18,000,000

$13,605,000

£9,021,883

€12,603,571

Anonymous

22A

Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Crying Girl, porcelain enamel on steel, Executed in 1964

$7,000,000 – $9,000,000

$13,381,000

£8,873,342

€12,396,059

Anonymous

Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. 

Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

 

Related Sale Sale 3789
The Artist’s Muse
November 9, 2015
New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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