Italian-Jewish artist’s painting breaks record at auction in capital

Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait de Anne Bjarne sells for $8.6 million, dwarfing previous $1.2 million record.

July 3, 2013 23:00
1 minute read.
ITALIAN-JEWISH-Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani’s ‘Portrait de Anne Bjarne’ sold for $8.6 million.

modigliani painting 370. (photo credit: PR Matsart Gallery, Jerusalem)

A painting by Italian-Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani shattered Israeli art-auction records in Jerusalem on Tuesday when a bidder from France paid $8.6 million for “Portrait de Anne Bjarne,” sold at Matsart Auctioneers and Appraisers.

The previous record-holder was Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro’s “The Meadow with the Grey Horse, Eragny, 1893,” which sold for $1.2m. in 2010.

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Modigliani’s 1919 painting, sold by prominent Israeli businessman Meshulam Riklis, is being held in New York. This is to save the buyer roughly $1m. by avoiding the incursion of an 18 percent VAT that would have applied if it was sold in Israel.

Modigliani’s painting exceeded expectations by fetching nearly $1.5m. more than the $8.25m. forecasted by art experts.

The auction also featured works by Jewish and Israeli luminaries, including Marc Chagall, Emmanuel Mane-Katz, Reuven Reuben, and Theo Tobiasse. Works by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were also auctioned.

Modigliani, a descendant of Sephardic Jewish intellectuals, was born in 1884 in the port city of Livorno, Italy. He suffered from alcoholism, drug addition and was destitute when he died of tubercular meningitis at the age of 35.

Modigliani was best known for incorporating a modern style characterized by mask-like faces and elongation of form.

Riklis said he is donating some of the proceeds of the record sale to the Israel Dignity Fund, which utilizes art therapy to assist wounded IDF soldiers.

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