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Modigliani's paintings highlight
New York Fall auction sales

The New York Fall auctions yielded about $2.3 billion in sales. For some observers, the results were disappointing, but the figure is still impressive. The star of the auctions has to be Amedeo Modigliani whose two major paintings sold for over $200 million.

First at Sotheby's his Portrait of Paulette Jourdain sold for $42,810.000. The painting was part of the Alfred Taubman collection. The painting had a presale estimate of $25-35 million.

The model for the piece was 15-year old who worked for Modigliani's dealer, Léopold Zborowski. After first meeting her, the artist asked her to pose for him. The painting required several studies and several sessions. After which, Jourdain became good friends with Modigliani, and was one of his companions during his final dying days.

The model for the piece was 15-year old who worked for Modigliani's dealer, Léopold Zborowski. After first meeting her, the artist asked her to pose for him. The painting required several studies and several sessions. After which, Jourdain became good friends with Modigliani, and was one of his companions during his final dying days.

Jourdain continued to model for some of Paris's important post-impressionists. After Zborowski died, she became an art dealer in her own right.

I find the Jourdain portrait more appealing than the second Modigliani that was offered by Christie's. Nu Couché or Reclining Nude is about the same size as the Jourdain portrait. Presale estimates for the work was placed about $100 million. Many speculated whether the work would approach that figure. The bidding zoomed past $100 million with six active bidders. The final bid of $170.4 million was placed by Liu Yiqian, a Chinese billionaire. It is the second highest priced painting ever sold at auction -- only behind Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers, which sold for $179 million earlier in the year at Christie's.

There is no information on the women who modeled for the painting. I would say the piece lacks a feel of human identity. It almost appears like a Hollywood glamour image of no one in particular. Obviously, it appealed to Liu Yigian in the tune of $170 million.



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