Modigliani painting called 'Nu couche' sells for $170 million, second-highest price ever paid at art auction. Roselle Chen reports.
The art market achieved record amounts yet again over at Christie's auction house. The final price of $170.4 million (USD) for Amedeo Modigliani's 1917-18 painting called "Nu couché" (Reclining Nude) - under the hammer for the first time ever - was second only to Picasso's "Les femmes d'Alger" (Women of Algiers), which sold for $179 million at Christie's in May. Jussi Pylkkanen is Christie's global president and auctioneer. SOUNDBITE: Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie's global president and auctioneer, saying (English): "This painting broke the world record for the artist by $100 million. The last price that has been achieved for oil by Modigliani is just short of $70 million so here you see a price of over a $170 million. It is an extraordinary painting. It has not been on the market for 100 years, it was painted in 1917 during the first World War and everybody, all the critics, all those people that really understand 20th century painting universally felt that this was the artist's greatest work, so this goes beyond the pictures in any museum and this is the opportunity for a collector to buy a masterpiece, bought by a Chinese collector interestingly." The painting was in a private collection for more than 60 years. "Nurse" by American pop art artist Roy Lichtenstein went for $95 million and a sculpture by Paul Gauguin sold for $30.9 million. While nearly 30 percent of the night's offerings went unsold - the auction still took in $494.4 million in total.