Thursday, February 5, 2015

Amedeo Modigliani at Auction and at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

Christie's 2017

Modigliani’s Cariatide (1913, estimate: £6,000,000-9,000,000),  stands as an intriguing crossover work, straddling the boundary between Modigliani’s two principal creative impulses of painting and sculpture. 

Executed in 1913, Cariatide is a rare example of Amedeo Modigliani’s painterly practice during this early period of his artistic career, in which he focused primarily on sculpture. One of only a handful of oil paintings which explore the form of a sculpted caryatid, the present work illustrates the complex working process that lay behind each of the artist’s three-dimensional projects in stone. Creating countless drawings and sketches before ever taking his hammer to a block, these studies offered Modigliani a forum in which to experiment and visualise the ideas that swirled around his head, before translating them into sculptural form.


Sotheby's 2017


Amedeo Modigliani
Portrait of Baranowski
oil on canvas
Painted in 1918.
Estimate: £10,000,000-15,000,000 
“To do any work, I must have a living person, I must be able to see him opposite me” – Modigliani
Working in Paris for most of his career, Modigliani is today considered one of the excess of $100 million and last June, Sotheby’s London sold Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard) – one of the greatest portraits the artist painted of his most loyal muse – for $56.6 million. 
Portrait de Baranowski, depicting a young man with fragile goodlooks and a pensive, introspective air, is a wonderfully elegant composition that powerfully synthesises all the elements of Modigliani’s portraits in this period – from geometricsimplification of the stylised human form to the almond, vacant eyes that render the sitter impenetrable. 
The painting is a quintessential example of Modigliani’s role as the chronicler of the vie bohème of Montparnasse, depicting the androgynous Polish painter Pierre-Edouard Baranowski. The sitter’s gentle youthful looks inspired Modigliani to create one of his most outstanding yet melancholy portraits, combining the characteristics of the individual with the lyricism of a poetic idea – at a time when the artist’s own health and looks were destroyed by heavy drinking and drug taking. Exhibited at the 1930 Venice Biennale show dedicated to Modigliani, the work is also an example of the artist’s mannerist style that was partly derived from his fascination with the Old Masters of his native Italy.




Also featured is Amedeo Modigliani’s (1884-1920) Jeune femme à la rose (Margherita) (estimate: $12,000,000-18,000,000) painted in 1916. This portrait is a quintessentially modern painting of the female figure painted in Modigliani’s signature style- with a patrician long neck and oval face, large eyes and small, red lips. Here he adds the uncoventional, and alluring adornment of a rose in the subject’s décolletage, further heightening her seductive allure. It is the finest of a series of three paintings from 1916 recorded by Ambrogio Ceroni that takes a dark haired and brown-eyed young woman as its subject. It has been suggested that the model is the artist’s older sister Margherita.

Christie’s November 9, 2015

Amedeo Modigliani’s masterpiece Nu couché (Reclining Nude) was auctioned on Monday, November 9 in New York. The painting, executed in 1917-18, will be the centerpiece of a special curated Evening Sale of 20th Century art focused on the theme of “The Artist’s Muse”.

The painting is one of a series of great female nudes made for Léopold Zborowski that famously caused a scandal nearly a century ago when they were exhibited at Modigliani’s first and only one-man show at the Galerie Berthe Weill in Paris.  Outraged by the content of this show — which caused a crowd to form outside the gallery window where one of Modigliani’s nudes was openly on display — the police demanded the immediate closure of the exhibition.

The upcoming sale this November marks the first time this portrait is appearing at auction. Estimated to exceed $100 million, the portrait is poised to break the standing world auction record of $70.7 million for any work by Modigliani, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie’s Global President and Chief Auctioneer comments, “This is quite simply one of the most important paintings I have handled in my long career at Christie’s. There are a very small number of masterpieces that we dream of handling: this magnificent Modigliani has always been one of them. This powerful and noble female nude is a work of timeless beauty and one of the greatest works by the artist. It is a particular honour to be entrusted with the sale of this painting as my own area of expertise has always been the early 20th Century avant-garde, the paintings that shook the foundations of convention.”  Mariolina Bassetti, Christie’s Chairman and International Director, Italy, added, “This is the painting that defines Modigliani”.

Originally in the collection of Modigliani’s mentor, friend, and dealer, Léopold Zborowski, Nu couché (Reclining Nude) has been so widely and frequently published and referred to over the past century that it has become one of the most recognized images of early 20th century painting and certainly represents one of Modigliani’s best known works. It was also previously in the celebrated collection of the late Gianni Mattioli, one of the greatest champions of Italian early 20th Century Modernism, who organized a global tour of his superb Italian Art collection in the 1960s. In the 1950s, this work toured to the Museum of Modern Art in New York where it took pride of place on the cover of the exhibition catalogue.

The painting has also been featured in major museum shows across the globe, including the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Tate Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Palazzo Reale in Milan.

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art May 4 and 5, 2015

Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Béatrice Hastings, oil on canvas, 1916. US $7-10million

  • This dynamic portrait depicts Modigliani’s muse Béatrice Hastings, one of many pen names for South African writer, poet and literary critic, Emily Alice Haigh.
  • Hastings frequently posed for Modigliani, with whom she shared an apartment in Monteparnasse.
  • Modigliani used portraiture, especially of those in his immediate circle, as a means to explore an idealised aspect of humanity, an image of internal as well as external likeness.
  • With its expressive painterly surface, Béatrice Hastings, is in glorious physical condition, giving it the appearance of just having left the easel.
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London on 6 February 2013 

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London on 6 February 2013 was led by Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau), 1919, one of the acclaimed elegant and lyrical portraits that Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) created of his muse and lover (estimate: £16-22 million.

It is a tribute to the quality of Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau), 1919, by Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) that it was included in the small posthumous retrospective of Modigliani’s works held at the XIII Biennale in Venice in 1922, the first such show to take place in his home country (estimate: £16-22 million, illustrated page one top centre). The portrait is filled with grace and poise, accentuated by the sinuous curve of Jeanne’s neck and the gentle undulation of her body. These qualities point to why some of Modigliani’s pictures from this late phase in his short but dramatic and influential career are referred to as ‘Mannerist.’ Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau) is a strikingly modern work of art; an idealised image of the artist’s lover. Modigliani used portraiture as a means to explore an idealised aspect of humanity, an image of internal as well as external likeness. Jeanne serves as the Muse for an insightful and lyrical exploration of the human spirit, created using a subtle blending of colours that radiate a sense of health. Looking at Modigliani’s life and at his work, it becomes apparent that the two were diametrically opposed in terms of atmosphere.

The serene calm of Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau) contrasts starkly with the legendary tales of drunkenness and bohemianism with which Modigliani is now so often associated. Perhaps his works provided a balance to his turbulent lifestyle. There is a near-religious sense of grace instilled in this image of his final great love, her hand raised like that of the Madonna. Modigliani created relatively few paintings during his short life – during which he was increasingly accepted as a pioneer in the world of modern art - and, in comparison with those of his counterparts, his works rarely come to the market.


L’Amazone is an early masterpiece by the artist and one of his most arresting images of women (est. $20/30 million). Painted in 1909, it depicts Baroness Marguerite de Hasse de Villers, a glamorous socialite and lover of the younger brother of Modigliani’s patron, Paul Alexandre. Marguerite poses in her riding-habit, gloved-hand on her hip and her arch gaze holding the viewer captivated. L’Amazone’s draughtsmanship and exquisite brushwork announced the arrival of a singular talent that Modigliani would explore during the following decade.  

Sotheby's 2014

LOT SOLD. 2,517,000 USD

Sotheby's 2013

LOT SOLD. 6,481,500 EUR

Sotheby's 2011

LOT SOLD. 3,513,250 GBP

Sotheby's 2010

LOT SOLD. 19,122,500 USD

Sotheby's 2008

Estimate 18,000,00025,000,000 USD

Christie's 2015


Christie's 2014 

Christie's 2013


Christie's 2012


Christie's 2011



Christie's 2010

Christie's 2009


Christie's 2007

 Christie's 2006

Bonhams 2011

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)

 Portrait de femme 
 Sold for £1,812,000 (US$ 2,763,287)

Bonhams 2012

Jeune fille aux cheveux noirs
Sold for £825,250 (US$ 1,258,500)

Bonhams 2004

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) 
Christina 80 x 69 cm. (31.5 x 27 1/8 in.) 
Sold for £1,546,650 (US$ 2,358,630)

National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 81.1 x 46.7 cm (31 15/16 x 18 3/8 in.)
framed: 90.8 x 55.5 cm (35 3/4 x 21 7/8 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on linen
overall: 55.3 x 38.1 cm (21 3/4 x 15 in.)
framed: 71.4 x 54.6 x 6.3 cm (28 1/8 x 21 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 92.4 x 60.3 cm (36 3/8 x 23 3/4 in.)
framed: 112.4 x 80.3 cm (44 1/4 x 31 5/8 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 91.7 x 59.7 cm (36 1/8 x 23 1/2 in.)
framed: 112.7 x 81.3 cm (44 3/8 x 32 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 81.3 x 46 cm (32 x 18 1/8 in.)
framed: 95.9 x 60 cm (37 3/4 x 23 5/8 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 55.3 x 33 cm (21 3/4 x 13 in.)
framed: 78.1 x 55.9 x 3.8 cm (30 3/4 x 22 x 1 1/2 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
c. 1917
oil on canvas
overall: 46.2 x 33.2 cm (18 3/16 x 13 1/16 in.)
framed: 62.8 x 50.4 x 6.9 cm (24 3/4 x 19 13/16 x 2 11/16 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on linen
overall: 65.4 x 100.9 cm (25 3/4 x 39 3/4 in.)
framed: 84.7 x 120 cm (33 3/8 x 47 1/4 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 92.1 x 60.7 cm (36 1/4 x 23 7/8 in.)
framed: 114.9 x 82.5 x 7.6 cm (45 1/4 x 32 1/2 x 3 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 100.3 x 64.8 cm (39 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.)
framed: 114.9 x 80.6 x 6.3 cm (45 1/4 x 31 3/4 x 2 1/2 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 60.2 x 91.7 cm (23 11/16 x 36 1/8 in.)
framed: 83.2 x 112.4 cm (32 3/4 x 44 1/4 in.)

Modigliani, Amedeo (painter)
, Italian, 1884 - 1920
oil on canvas
overall: 115.9 x 73 cm (45 5/8 x 28 3/4 in.)
framed: 134.6 x 93.3 x 9.5 cm (53 x 36 3/4 x 3 3/4 in.)

, Italian, 1884 - 1920
overall: 65.2 x 19 x 24.8 cm (25 11/16 x 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 in.)