Nu Couche (Sur Le Cote Gauche) was said by Sotheby’s to be the greatest painting from the Italian-born artist’s series of 22 nud* painting.
Completed in 1917, it was also the largest painting of his career. Modigliani shocked Europe at the turn of the 19th century with his series of painting, and his exhibition at a Paris gallery was closed by police on its opening day. Ahead of Monday night’s auction, the painting was given a $150 million (£107 million) price tag – the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art at auction.
t broke the previous $140 million record for an estimate, held by Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), from 2015. 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 (then £341 million) in 2017.
Before the auction, Simon Shaw, co-head worldwide of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, said:
‘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 nud* painting, the work is radically innovative in style.’