A stunning nude that is the largest painting produced by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani sold for US$157.2 million in New York on Monday, becoming the fourth most expensive work of art sold at auction.
Painted a century ago, Modigliani's masterpiece Nu couche (sur le cote gauche) is 147 centimeters wide and fetched the highest price in Sotheby's history. It was the star lot in the May art auction season in New York.
Modigliani follows Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso as the third highest-selling artist at auction. Monday's sale failed to eclipse the US$170.4 million paid for another Modigliani nude at Christie's in 2015.
Modigliani reinvented the nude for the modern era, and when his series of paintings were first exhibited in 1917, they were considered so shocking that police closed the show in Paris. Modigliani completed 22 reclining nudes and 13 seated nudes between 1916 and 1919. The models were paid five francs to pose in a Paris apartment.