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