Friday 17 August 2018

Modigliani nude sets new record for auction estimate

Nu Couche (Sur Le Cote Gauche) is said by Sotheby’s to be the greatest painting from the artist’s series of once-controversial nudes.

Modigliani's Nu Couche (Sur Le Cote gauche) (Sotheby's)
Modigliani's Nu Couche (Sur Le Cote gauche) (Sotheby's)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A Modigliani nude has a 150 million dollar (£107 million) price tag – the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art at auction.

Nu Couche (Sur Le Cote Gauche) is said by Sotheby’s to be the greatest painting from Modigliani’s series of once-controversial nudes.

Completed in 1917, it was also the largest painting of his career.

The record for a work actually sold at auction still stands with Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which went under the hammer for 450 million US dollars (then £341 million) in 2017.

But the Modigliani painting breaks the 140 million dollars record for an estimate, previously held by Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), from 2015.

Simon Shaw, co-head worldwide of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, said: “This painting reimagines the nude for the modern era.

“Modigliani depicted his models as confident and self-possessed in their sexuality.

Nu Couche is an incredibly sensual image, with the sitter’s gaze meeting the viewer’s head-on in truly mesmerising fashion Simon Shaw, Sotheby’s

“Nu Couche is an incredibly sensual image, with the sitter’s gaze meeting the viewer’s head-on in truly mesmerising fashion.

“While situating itself within a classical canon of nude painting, the work is radically innovative in style.”

He said of Modigliani’s paintings: “Together these pictures signal a watershed in perhaps the greatest tradition in art – there is the nude before Modigliani, and there is the nude after Modigliani.”

The painting featured at Tate Modern’s recent show on the Italian-born artist, who “scandalised” society with his paintings depicting body hair.

It will lead Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 14.

Press Association

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