More post-war/contemporary art on tap at Christie’s after Modigliani sells for $170.4 million

NEW YORK, N.Y. – After a night in which Christie’s sold a painting of a sexy nude by Amedeo Modigliani for $170.4 million — just a few million short of the auction record for a work of art— the auction house returns on Tuesday with iconic works by Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois and Lucian Freud.

Monday night’s specially curated “The Artist’s Muse” sale, which totalled $491 million, set a number of new artist records at auction.

Modigliani’s “Reclining Nude” joined the ranks of nine other works that have reached price tags exceeding $100 million at auction and became the second-most expensive artwork sold at auction. Christie’s said the buyer was the Long Museum in China.

Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O)” sold at Christie’s in May for $179.4 million, and it remains the highest sum ever paid for an artwork at auction.

“Nurse,” a painting by Roy Lichtenstein not seen on the market for 20 years, sold for $95.3 million Monday night, almost doubling the previous auction record for the pop artist of $56 million.

The Tuesday evening sale of post-war and contemporary art is not expected to garner such stratospheric prices. Here are the highlights:


“Brigadier” by Lucian Freud

Presale estimate: around $30 million.

Notable: This is a portrait of Andrew Parker Bowles, the former husband of Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the wife of Prince Charles. It portrays the career soldier wearing his sumptuous army brigadier uniform.


“Spider” by Louise Bourgeois

Pre-sale estimate: $25 million to $35 million.

Notable: A mammoth bronze sculpture. If sold for the estimate, the price would exceed the artist’s current auction record of $10.7 million and set a record for a sculpture by a female artist.


“Four Marilyns” by Andy Warhol.

Pre-sale estimate: around $40 million.

Notable: The work was created in 1962. The cadmium orange of the canvas” background defines Monroe’s halo of golden hair and the pink tones of her complexion. It was made in 1962.


“Two Studies for Portrait” by Francis Bacon

Presale estimate: $12 million to $18 million.

Notable: A diptych in which the artist’s strong features are intertwined with the more refined chiseled features of his friend, the American photographer Peter Beard.


“Untitled” By Christopher Wool

Presale estimate: around $18 million.

Notable: Part of Wool’s text-based series of paintings. The 1990 work replicates a catchphrase from the 1957 film noir “Sweet Smell of Success: “The cat’s in the bag, and the bags in the river,” which the artist shortened to “Cats In Bag Bags In River” on bold lettering. A similar version of the work using the same phrase is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


“Spatial Concepts. The End of God” by Lucio Fontana

Presale estimate: around $25 million.

Notable: Created in 1963-1964, the large monochromatic, human-sized, egg-shaped canvas is punctuated and perforated with irregular holes, some craterous in shape, and covered in bright yellow oil paint.