A painting of a nude by Amedeo Modigliani fetched nearly 69 million dollars at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, setting a new record for the Italian painter.
The circa 1917 canvas, titled “Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine),” had been estimated before the auction to go for more than 40 million dollars.
Five bidders on Tuesday competed over what Sotheby’s called the “iconic” and “stunning nude,” driving the final price to 68,962,500 dollars.
The massive sale highlighted the first of the autumn art auctions in New York at Sotheby’s and rival Christie’s, with both houses predicting a surge in demand.
Another highlight of Tuesday’s auction was 24.7 million dollars paid for “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas,” by impressionist Claude Monet in his iconic water lilies series.
Modigliani’s “Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau),” one of the first portraits he did of his main muse in late life, sold for 19.1 million dollars.
Proceeds both from that Modigliani and the Monet were to benefit YoungArts, a high-end program supporting young artists.
The worldwide economic downturn has dampened the seasonal face-off between Sotheby’s and Christie’s for the past two years, but signs point to the return of big spenders and an ever-more international clientele.