“Reclining Nude” by Modigliani sold for $170.4 million

Amedeo_Modigliani_Reclining Nude

“Reclining Nude” (1917-1918), Amedeo Modigliani (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The “Reclining Nude” painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani broke records on November 9, 2015 when it sold for $170.4 million at a Christie’s, New York, auction.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the painting was purchased by private Chinese collectors Liu Yiqian and his wife, Wang Wei. The sale is the highest price for a Modigliani, and makes it one of the most expensive paintings ever sold. Prior to the sale, the record for Modigliani was $71 million.

The oil painting, created in 1917-18, is among Modigliani’s best-known works and is “one of the defining masterpieces of his art,” according to Christie’s lot notes. The painting depicts a nude brunette woman reclining on a crimson couch and blue cushion, with Modigliani’s trademark of a twisted torso showing off her feminine curves.

The sale is $9 million shy of the record for the most expensive painting ever sold, which was set on May 11, 2015 when “Women of Algiers (Version O)” by Pablo Picasso sold for $179.4 million at a Christie’s auction. Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione commented on the nature of such extravagant art purchases following the Picasso sale.

“Why do people pay these kinds of prices for art?” Scaglione says. “There is a long, long history of this – this is nothing new. This goes back to the church, this goes back to the Renaissance where people put a great value on art.”

les femmes dalger picasso

“Les Femmes d’Alger, Version O” (1955) by Pablo Picasso. (Image courtesy of The Independent)

Scaglione believes increasing prices have become more the rule than the exception in today’s art market, so large purchases reflect the market in general at all price levels, not just the nine-figure rarities seen in 2015.

“In the current climate it’s become quite normal for us to sell artworks for tens of thousands of dollars on a daily basis,” he says of Park West Gallery.

Modigliani is said to have reinvigorated modernist painters to follow the tradition of painting nudes with his series of nudes, including “Reclining Nude,” that he painted from 1916 to 1919. The legend, according to Christie’s, is that the lack of misogyny in Modigliani’s nudes derives from the intimacy he shared with his models.

His only solo show, held in Paris in 1917, spurred concerns of obscenity with respect to his series of nudes, causing the police to close it on opening day.

Modigliani lived from 1884 to 1920, moving to Paris in 1906 where he met artists like Picasso. Many of Modigliani’s works were not welcomed at the time of their creation, but gained popularity afterwards. He passed away at the age of 35 due to tubercular meningitis.

Christie’s broke another record at the same auction with “Nurse” by Roy Lichtenstein. A bidder acquired it for $95.4 million, beating the previous record of $56 million for a work by Lichtenstein.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • Artist Michael Cheval Tells the Stories Behind His Fall Art

    Many artists are drawn to the unique colors and sensations of autumn, and that includes Absurdist artist Michael Cheval.“I love autumn,” Cheval says. “I love the season when colors are ...
    Read More
  • Meet Scott Jacobs: The Original Harley Davidson Artist

    Scott Jacobs is internationally recognized for his photorealistic artwork of everything from wine bottles to Harley Davidsons, but he knows art is about so much more than just capturing ...
    Read More
  • Experience Fall With the Art of Slava Ilyayev

    Fewer artists are able to capture the changing leaves, the crisp air, and romance of fall better than Slava Ilyayev.Park West Gallery is celebrating the turn of the season with ...
    Read More
  • Claude Monet Is Coming To Detroit—With The Help Of Park West Gallery

    Park West Gallery is bringing one of the founding fathers of the Impressionist movement to the gallery’s hometown—Detroit.Park West Gallery and the Park West Foundation are sponsoring “Monet: Framing ...
    Read More
  • Dominic Pangborn Selected to Honor Blessing of Father Solanus Casey

    Art and religion have a long-standing history. Artist Dominic Pangborn will join that time-honored tradition by creating artwork of a beloved Detroit priest on his way to becoming a saint.Pangborn ...
    Read More
  • 4 Tips on How to Plan the Perfect Cruise

    Did you know that October is “Plan a Cruise Month”? It’s a worldwide event—first started by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in 2016—focused on teaching both new and ...
    Read More
  • Park West Museum Features Yaacov Agam Exhibition

    Park West Gallery is inviting the public to experience the kinetic art of renowned Israeli artist Yaacov Agam in its newly-renovated gallery and museum.A special exhibition, “Agam,” will run ...
    Read More
  • Art News: Rome Creates Art Exhibition for the Blind

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making headlines this week. New Exhibition Designed for ...
    Read More
  • How Yaacov Agam Became a Warrior For Truth (With a Little Help From...

    When “The Algemeiner,” one of the foremost Jewish newspapers in the world, announced they wanted to honor famed Israeli artist Yaacov Agam with their 2017 “Warrior for Truth” ...
    Read More
  • Park West Supports the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival

    Enjoy the sounds of today’s top jazz performers and the sights of artwork by renowned artist Alfred “Alex” Gockel during the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival.The annual jazz festival, held ...
    Read More
  • Park West Foundation Fosters Future Generations

    Less than 10 percent of Michigan’s foster care children who graduate high school enroll in college. Less than 1 percent of those who do go on to college will graduate. ...
    Read More
  • Art News: Critics Weigh in on ‘Loving Vincent’

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making headlines this week. Critics Praise Painted Visuals ...
    Read More