Modigliani Painting Pulls $157M, Picasso $37M at Sotheby’s Auction

Picasso from 1932“Le Repos”

Italian-Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 painting “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)” was sold for $157 million, a Picasso’s 1932 “Le Repos,” was snagged for $36.9 million at a huge Sotheby’s auction last Monday.

The Modigliani painting is considered the greatest work of his series which essentially reinvented the nude for the Modern era. Translated into English the painting is titled “Lying Naked (on the left side)”. It is the largest sized painting in his entire career. It started with a pre-auction price of $150 Million. This painting is one of 22 reclining nude paintings by Modigliani, only 9 of the series are in private hands.

Jewish Voice Publisher David Benhooren at Sotheby’s getting a close up look at Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 painting “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche”

The Pablo Picasso piece from 1932“Le Repos “ is one of the several of his lover Marie-Thérèse. He executed his major series of paintings depicting her in January 1932, in anticipation of Picasso’s first retrospective that coming June at Galeries Georges-Petit in Paris. Art Market Monitor described the painting: “frank avowal of Picasso’s love for Marie-Thérèse is particularly evident in this work”. This painting was snagged for $36.9 Million.

The story behind the Picasso and how it ended up in the auction is even more interesting. Sue Gross was awarded the painting in August 2017 after she and Bill agreed to divvy up some of the marital assets by making alternating picks. In a coin toss, Sue got to pick first — and selected the Picasso, the NY Post reported in an exclusive recently.

When Mr. Gross then tried to make arrangements to transfer the pricey piece of art — which he believed was hanging on the wall of his bedroom — to his wife, he was stunned to learn she already had it.

“Bill was shocked Sue already had the piece,” a source told The Post, adding that Bill said, “She stole the damn thing.” It turns out Sue swapped out the real Picasso and replaced it with a copy of the masterpiece she had painted years before. Sue Gross was told by her ex to take whatever art she desired, but it was expected of here to just take it and not replace it with a fake! “ He said take all the furniture and art that you’d liken and so I did,” she told the Post

By Austin Myers

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