When it was first shown in 1917, Modigliani’s Nu couche (sur le cote gauche) was considered so offensive that police shut the exhibition down.
Just over a century later, the painting of the defiant nude woman has sold for $157.2m (N56.7bn) at an auction in New York City. The figure paid for the work was $139m but the buyer’s premium brought the total price up to $157.2m.
The painting, which is Modigliani’s largest at 147cm wide, was the highlight of the auction of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s on Monday evening.
It had the highest pre-auction estimate – $150m. The previous owner, based in the US, had bought the Modigliani in 2003 for $26.9m.