In the increasingly competitive market of art collecting, it seems that no price ceiling can ever be reached with records being broken left and right. On Monday, another masterpiece made headlines for becoming the second most expensive work of artwork ever paid for at an auction, raking in $170.4 million USD. The piece in the spotlight was Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu Couché (1917-18), a painting that depicts a nude woman splayed upon a surface. According to Ana Maria Celis, a Christie’s specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art, “This painting leaps off the page as the most vibrant, sexual, lyrical of the catalog raisonee.”
This exorbitant price makes this piece only the 10th work of art to sell for more than nine figures in auction. Additionally, the price was significantly higher than the next best-selling Modigliani piece, beating out the $70.7 million USD paid in New York last November for his 1911-12 sculpture Tête. In the overheated art market, it seems that anything is possible.