Amedeo Modigliani’s work from his famous series “Reclining Nude” has set a new record and become the world’s second most expensive painting ever sold at auction. On November 9, at Christie’s New York auction in Manhattan, the buyer laid out $170.4 million for this masterpiece estimated at $100 million. This is only $9 million less than the cost of the renowned Picasso’s work “Women of Algiers (Version O)” that was bought for $179 million in May, becoming the most expensive painting pushed under the hammer. According to “The Wall Street Journal,” the new owners of “Reclining Nude” are Chinese art collectors, billionaire Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei. Known for shelling out millions to acquire Chinese fine art works, Liu Yiqian also bought a rare Ming Dynasty porcelain cup decorated with the image of a chicken for $36.3 million in August 2014.
Thus, the “Reclining Nude” has become the fourth work in the mixed list of the most expensive paintings in the world sold both at auctions and in private treaty transactions. The leadership belongs to the canvas art work by Paul Gauguin “When Will You Marry?” sold by Rudolf Staechelin, one of the famous Swiss art collectors, for $300 million. The second place is occupied by “The Card Players” by Paul Cezanne, sold for $250 million; the third – the already mentioned Picasso’s “Women of Algiers.” This top five of the most expensive paintings is closed by “The Dream” also created by Pablo Picasso, which was sold for $155 million in 2013. Let us recall that a few days earlier, the Sotheby’s auction house in New York had sold another Amedeo Modigliani’s masterpiece “Portrait of Paulette Jourdain” from the A. Alfred Taubman’s art collection for $42.8 million.
In addition to Amedeo Modigliani, new auction highs were achieved for Roy Lichtenstein, Gustave Courbet, Balthus, and Yoshitomo Nara. Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nurse” (1964) estimated to bring about $80 million was sold for $95.3 million, Gustave Courbet’s “Femme Nue Couchée” (1862) was sold for $15.3 million, “Lady Abdy” (1935) by Balthus was sold for $9.9 million, and “The Little Star Dweller” (2006) painted by the living artist Yoshitomo Nara was sold for $3.4 million. Other works put up for “The Artist’s Muse” Evening Sale of 20th Century Art have not brought the expected success. In particular, “Woman” by Willem de Kooning estimated at $14 – 18 million and Lucian Freud’s “Naked Portrait on a Red Sofa” depicting his daughter Bella and estimated at $20 – 30 million have remained unsold. Meanwhile, a rare wood sculpture “Therese” by Paul Gauguin went for almost $31 million, being estimated at $18 – 25 million. Well, it looks like the fine art market has cooled a bit and got smarter. Anyway, Christie’s New York “The Artist’s Muse” sale has brought $491.3 million total.