Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: Amedeo Modigliani | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani (12 July 1884 – 24 January 1920) was an Italian painter and sculptor, mainly known for portraits and nudes in a modern style characterized by the elongation of faces and figures. Modigliani studied art in Italy, but he settled in Paris, where he created most of his works. Many of his works were not well-received during his lifetime, and they only gained popularity and acceptance after this death.

Modigliani made headlines in 2015  when his painting “Nu Couche” (Paris, 1917) sold at Christie's  New York for $170.4 million a record price for any of his works. On May 14, 2018, Sotheby’s will feature Modigliani’s “Nu
couche (
sur le cote gauche)” at Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York. The painting is estimated to sell for more than $150 million, the highest estimate ever placed on a work at auction, according to published reports.

Here is a performance analysis of Amedeo Modigliani’s artworks in the auction market:

1. Sales Trend in the Past 30 Years
Over a 30-year period, Modigliani’s best year was 2015, when sales of  35 works totalled $251.1 million, followed by 2010 when sales of 25 works totalled $157.6 million. By 2017, however, 13 of the artist’s works sold for a $30.4 million. The following graph shows the painter’s year-on-year performance in total sales and number of works sold.

2. Average and  Median Sale Price Trend in the Past 30 Years 
If we observe the trend of average and median sales of Modigliani, in 2013 the median sales price shot up to $215,000, while the average remained at $3,500.  A significant volume of his artworks were sold in the price range of $40,000 to $500,000? The lower average can be attributed to a few very low value artworks
2015, Modigliani’s e sale price averaged at an all-time high of $7.1 million, a result of the record-setting sale of “Nu Couche” for $170 million at Christie’s New York. In the past three years, there has been a decline in the number of his paintings sold at auction, bringing down the average sale price of the artist. But the median price fluctuated in the past three years and was $75,543 in 2015, $28,785 in 2016 and  $44,748 in 2017.

3. Highest-Priced Artworks 
Most of Modigliani ‘s top artworks were sold at the main auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s. His highest-ever sale was “Nu
couche,” signed ‘Modigliani’ (upper right), an oil on canvas painted in 1917-18, which sold for $170.4 million at Christie’s New York in November 2015. The second highest sale was not a painting, but a stone sculpture titled “Tete,” which was carved in 1911-12; it sold at Sotheby’s for $70.7 million in 2014. Modigliani’s third highest sale occurred in 2010 when “Nu Assis Sur Un Divan (La Belle Romaine),’’ a 1917 oil painting, fetched $69 million at Sotheby’s.
We expect that the upcoming Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in Sotheby’s New York on May 14, 2018, will break his record.

4. Price Band in Which His Works Have Sold in the Past 30 Years
More than 57 percent of the artist’s works have sold in the price range $10,000 to $100,000. Small percentage of his works has sold for over $1 million (116 artworks accounting for 14 percent of his total sale volume).

5. Where His Works Have Sold the Most in the Past 30 Years
About 52 percent of his artworks have sold at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. These two auction houses account for 94 percent of his total sales and the other auction houses have together contributed only 6 percent of total sales. If we observe the spread of geographical location of sale of his works, the United States leads with $884.3 million followed by the United Kingdom at $340.1 million, France at $127.3 million and the rest (Germany and Italy).

6. Volume of Artworks on Offer vs. Bought-in Rate
Even though 2015 was a record-setting year for the artist, from 2016 the volume of Modigliani’s artworks on offer has shown a declining trend.  For example, 2017 had very few lots of the artist on offer at auctions with a high bought-in rate of 29 percent. A trend of artworks offered at auction and the bought-in rate can be observed in the graph below.

7. Bought-ins by Auction Houses
The trend of his declining volume continues at Christie’s and Sotheby’s but all of his works that are offered at auction are sold. An overall trend of volume of artworks on offer, and the bought-in rates of Christie’s and Sotheby’s are shown below.

8. How Often Have His Works Exceeded the Auction Houses’ High Estimates?
2009 onwards, over 50 percent of his works exceed the high estimates at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s. 2017 was an exception as none of his works breached the auction high estimates.  2018 hopefully will change the trend for the artist.
Founder Louise Blouin

Top auction results for Amedeo Modigliani