16 Jun Tête by Amedeo Modigliani sold for $52.6 million, Christie`s Paris
A limestone bust of a woman by Amedeo Modigliani sold for $52.6 million ( 43,18 million euro) at Christie’s sale of Impressionist and Modern art in Paris on 14th of June and it is the highest price paid at auction in France.
“Tête” also sets a new record price for Modigliani, the Italian modernist who is better known for his jewel-toned portraits of women with swan-like necks. Modigliani’s paintings have sold for as much as $31 million at auction, but his sculptures are coveted in part they are rare. Only 10 of his 27 sculptures remain in private hands, with museums owning the rest, Christie’s said.
This 1910-12 work, which depicts the head of a woman with a tribal-mask of a face and a sweeping bouffant, comes from the storied collection of Gaston Levy, the founder of retail-chain Monoprix who bought “Tête” in 1927. Christie’s, which offered the work on behalf of Mr. Levy’s heirs, priced it to go for up to $7.2 million but wound up toggling 20 bidders over the course of a 10-minute bidding war. The winner chose to remain anonymous, the house said.
The 65cm head was first shown at the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris in 1912.
Modigliani was one of just three artists in his generation to achieve distinction in three different media: painting, sculpture and drawing. The other two were Picasso and Matisse. The present sculpture, Tête, was purchased in Paris in 1927 by Gaston Levy, an artist and conservator who had known Modigliani since his Montmartre days. It has stayed in the Levy family for the past 83 years.
Watch video where Christie’s Head of Impressionist & Modern Art in Paris, Anika Guntrum examines the history of this rare sculpture.