Amedeo Modigliani Nude Painting Sells for Record-Breaking $157.2 Million at Sotheby's in New York

Amedeo Modigliani "Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)" is the highest sold painting at Sotheby's in New York City.

Reclining Nude Painting

Image via Getty/DeAgostini

Reclining Nude Painting

An anonymous bidder bought Amedeo Modigliani's 1917 painting "Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)" for $157.2 million at Sotheby's in New York. This is the highest price in the international auction company's history. The previous owner bought the painting for $26.9 million in 2003, according to Sotheby's.

The oil painting, which translates to "Reclining Nude (on the left side)," depicts a naked woman with her backside showing as she lays down. As Sotheby's notes, the painting was quite controversial when it was first revealed by the Italian artist. "Upon their debut exhibition in 1917, these striking and sensual images quite literally stopped traffic and prompted the police to close the show," read the company's press statement on the record-breaking sale. "Today, the series is recognized as one of the seminal achievements in Modern painting."

"Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)" is also a part of Modigliani's collection of other reclining nude paintings which can be found all around the world—including New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as Shanghai's Long Museum in Shanghai, and London's The Courtauld Gallery.  However, "Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)" is the largest painting by Modigliani, as it measures 58 inches wide and is the only horizontal nude he painted with the entire body on the canvas.

"Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)" isn't the most expensive painting sold ever though. That record is held by Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," which sold for $450 million in 2017.

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