Modigliani's 'Reclining Nude' sells for $170 million at Christie's

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Auctioneers at Christie's expected Modigliani's "Reclining Nude" to go for $100 million.

"Reclining Nude," the century-old painting by Amedeo Modigliani, sold for $170,405,000 at a Christie's auction on Monday.

There were five bidders for the work and the auction lasted nine minutes. The Long Museum of Shanghai, founded by collectors Lui Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei, is the new owner of the painting.

This is the second-highest price for a painting sold at auction. Christie's had hoped the painting, made in 1917 and 1918, would fetch $100 million.

Christie's said the painting "caused a scandal" when Modigliani exhibited it nearly 100 years ago in Paris. Police were "outraged by the content of the show" and ordered it closed.

Now art is a hot commodity.

Roy Lichtenstein's 1964 pop art "Nurse," one of his signature comic book style paintings made with colored dots, sold Monday for $95,365,000. That's an auction record for Lichtenstein.

Last week, rival auction house Sotheby's sold $750 million worth of art, much of it owned by the late shopping mall magnate A. Alfred Taubman.

The top-selling painting from the Sotheby's auction was "La Gommeuse," a 1901 nude by Picasso that sold for $67.5 million. The sale also included a Modigliani portrait, "Paulette Jordan" ($42.8 million).

The winning bidder of all the most expensive works were listed as anonymous.

Picasso still holds the record price for paintings at auction. His 1955 painting "Les femmes d'Alger" fetched $179 million at a Christie's auction earlier this year.

Other paintings to go for nine figures at auction include:

--"Three Studies of Lucian Freud" by Francis Bacon, $142.4 million (2013, Christie's)

--"The Scream" by Edvard Munch, $119.9 million (2012, Sotheby's)

--"Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" by Picasso, $106.5 million (2010, Christie's)

--"Garcon a la Pipe" by Picasso, $104.2 million (2004, Sotheby's)

Private sales have reportedly brought in even higher prices, though they can be difficult to confirm since sellers don't typically release that information.

The most expensive painting in the world is reportedly an 1892 portrait of two Tahitian girls by Paul Gauguin called "Nafea faa ipoipo," or "When will you marry?" The painting went for $300 million in a private sale earlier this year, according to The New York Times.

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