Rich people still love naked ladies: Modigliani nude sells at Christie’s for $170.4M

Modigliani’s “Nu Couché,” which sold for $170.4 million last night at Christie’s.

Worried about the lackluster performance of A. Alfred Taubman’s collection at Sotheby’s last week? Never fear, rich people are still buying expensive art: Christie’s made its rival-house supremely jealous last night with the sale of Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu Couché,” which sold for a record-breaking $170.4 million to the Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian, the luckiest former taxi driver in the world, the New York Times reports. He plans to put it into his museum in Shanghai. Such a man of the people!

This is the second-highest price ever paid for a painting at auction (the first was Pablo Picasso’s 1955 painting “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),” which also sold at Christie’s in May for $179.4 million).

Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’).”


Last night’s “Artist’s Muse” sale brought in a total of $491.4 million to Christie’s, with other high-profile works including  Roy Lichenstein’s “Nurse” painting, which went for $95.4 million and Paul Gauguin’s “Thérèse” statue, which went for $30.9 million.

Lichtenstein's "Nurse" (left) and Gauguin's "Thérèse."
Lichtenstein’s “Nurse” (left) and Gauguin’s “Thérèse.”

Modigliani’s seem to be all the rage nowadays; his work “Portrait de Paulette Jourdain” sold for $42.8 million at Sotheby’s last week as part of the Taubman sale. Why was it so much less than the “Nu Couché”? We’re going to guess it’s because Paulette kept her clothes on. 

“Portrait de Paulette Jourdain,” which sold for $42.8 million last week at Sotheby’s.