(CNN Money) – Christie’s said the painting “caused a scandal” when Modigliani exhibited it nearly 100 years ago at his “first and only” one-man show in Paris.
“Outraged by the content of the show — which had caused a crowd to form outside the gallery window where one of Modigliani’s nudes was openly on display — the police demanded the immediate closure of the exhibition,” said Christie’s.
Modigliani was an Italian libertine who died poor, at age 35, but not before he painted a lot of nudes.
Christie’s broke a record when it sold a Picasso for $179 million in May. The auction house had expected to get $140 million for the painting, “Les femmes d’Alger.”
The prior record was $142 million for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” which was sold in 2013. The current record for a Modigliani is a sculpture that sold for $70.7 million last year.
Christie’s is now hoping to have another putting the Modigliani on the auction block November 9 in New York. The painting,“Reclining Nude,” dates from 1917 and 1918, the final years of World War I.
And it just might get it, considering the nine-digit prices that Modern Art masterpieces have been getting.