The interest in Italian art has increased dramatically in the art market in recent years. Its important position in the market became apparent during this year's major art fairs and international auctions. Amadeo Modigliani's Nu Couché, which was purchased by a buyer from China, caused a scandal when it was first shown nearly a hundred years ago.

Image via AP Photo/Alastair Grant Image via AP Photo/Alastair Grant

The painting of the nude woman lying outstretched on a red sofa depicts an anonymous model that was probably Modigliani's muse. After an intense bidding, which started at $75 million, after just fifteen seconds the $100 million mark was passed, and lasted nine minutes as seven bidders battled it out until the final bid of $170.4 million.

Despite the fact that Christie's achieved several new records during the auction -Balthus, Gustave Courbet, Roy Lichtenstein and Yoshitomo Nara - the auction echoed the results of Sotheby's Taubman auction which was held last week. It was a rather wobbly affair as several lots were left unsold, which could be a result of the lack of desire to buy from Asian bidders.

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