Auction  May 16, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Sotheby’s Sets New Auction Record with Modigliani Nude

Courtesy Sotheby's

Modigliani's “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche),” 1917

Not to be left behind by Christie’s record-breaking Rockefeller sales last week, at Monday evening’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale, Sotheby’s set new records of its own. The highest auction price in Sotheby’s history went to Modigliani’s nude masterpiece, “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche),” selling for $157.2 million. Modigliani is one of only three artists whose works have achieved over $150 million at auction, the other two being Picasso and da Vinci. “Nu couché” is one of a series of nudes that Modigliani painted between 1915 and 1917. Their display in a Paris solo exhibition was deemed obscene at the time. The nude paintings from that ill-fated show have come to be emblematic of Modigliani’s work, with their elongated faces and reaching poses.

Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Sale auction was significant overall, totaling over $318.3 million. Other notable works included a Rose period Picasso, “Famille d’arlequin” from 1905, selling for $11.5 million. An 1896 landscape by Monet, “Matinée sur la Seine” achieved $20.6 million. Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Lake George with White Birch,” nearly doubled its estimate to reach $11.3 million. Full results of the auction can be viewed online. Christie’s will attempt to continue the streak of record-breaking auction sales at their Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, taking place this evening.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.