Modigliani sets world record with estimate in excess of $150m – Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) may fetch more than £170.4m paid for another nude in 2015

The Guardian | Mark Brown

A Modigliani reclining nude is to be offered at auction with an estimate in excess of $150m (£108m), the highest pre-sale figure for work of art. Sotheby’s announced the estimate as it unveiled the 1917 painting Nu couché (sur le côté gauche), a star of the recent Modigliani show at Tate Modern, to an audience of collectors and journalists in Hong Kong. Simon Shaw, the co-head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, said the work was radically innovative and had an important place in art history. “This painting reimagines the nude for the modern era,” he said.

The painting is one of 22 reclining nudes completed by Modigliani, many of them exhibited at a scandalising exhibition in Paris in 1917. “Together these pictures signal a watershed in perhaps the greatest tradition in art,” said Shaw. “There is nude before Modigliani, and there is nude after Modigliani.” Modigliani is one of only three artists whose work has broken the $150m barrier at auction. Another of his reclining nudes sold for $170.4m at Christie’s New York in 2015. It was bought by the Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian and his wife, Wang Wei, described by the Financial Times as “one of the world’s flashiest art collectors”…read more

Image: A detail from Nu couché (sur le côté gauche), one of 22 reclining nudes completed by Amedeo Modigliani. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images