“Impeccable” Modigliani star of Paris auction

Held in the Alexandre family for generations, the painting is considered a time capsule


Amedeo Modigliani’s portrait of his patron Paul Alexandre, 1911-12 (right), sold for €13.5m at Sotheby’s in Paris, way over its €5m to €8m pre-sale estimate. The work accounted for more than half of the Impressionist and Modern art auction on 4 June, which made a total €23.8m. The painting came fresh to the market, with impeccable provenance and in perfect condition, having been held in the Alexandre family for more than a century. “It was as if the painting had come out of a time capsule—never retouched or repainted,” said Etienne Hellman, Sotheby’s senior director for Impressionist and Modern art, Paris. Six international bidders fought for the painting, Hellman said, but he declined to identify the buyer.


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