- Works by Joan Miro and Matisse fail to sell
- Record Price for a painting by Modigliani
- Other Modigliani paintings exceed pre sale estimates
- All eyes on Christie’s forthcoming modern and impressionist sale
Italian born figurative artist Modigliani, died in Paris in 1920 from meningitis; his body exhausted from overwork, drug and alcohol abuse. We can only speculate what he would have made of Tuesday’s proceedings at Sotheby’s in New York.
Artist Amedeo Modigliani was certainly the star of the show. His “Nu assis sur un divan” (La Belle Romaine), achieved a record-breaking price of $68.9 million US at Sotheby’s New York auction on Tuesday night.
The painting, a sensual canvas of a seductively posed woman is from an important series of nude paintings by Modigliani. It attracted almost as much attention in New York as when it scandalized Pairs at it’s first showing in 1917 (just three years before his death, aged 35) – with five competing telephone bidders fighting over the prize.
Despite this, the night was less of a triumph for other artists. Buyers and art dealers sat on their wallets for many of the lots and the sale’s overall pre-sale estimate of $266 million US was missed by some margin, with only $227.6 million ringing through the till.
Perhaps more interestingly than actual numbers, a quarter of the 61 lots on offer did not sell, including works by Joan Miro and Henri Matisse.
Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu assis sur un divan” painting was sold to an anonymous buyer, paying almost $30 million US in excess of the pre-sale estimate set by Sotheby’s. Modigliani’s work is certainly ascendant. This sale marked a record price for a Modigliani, exceeding the $53 million US paid in June 2010 for in a limestone Modigliani bust in Paris, France.
Another of his paintings also exceeded expectations, selling for $19.1 million US at the sale, comfortably above the pre sale estimate of $12 million US. The painting - Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau) – is one of Modigliani’s first portraits of his lover.
Thanks to Modiglliani, Sotheby’s are delighted with the results of the sale, according to their Head of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York, Simon Shaw.
We will report later on the results of the upcoming impressionist and modern sale at Christie’s in New York.