John Magnier’s Modigliani painting makes €120m

Modigliani, the painting sold by Irishman John Magnier

The New York sale of a 1917 nude painting by Amadeo Modigliani is believed to have earned horse stud owner John Magnier close to €120m.

He is understood to be the owner of the work, which was last sold in another New York auction in 2003 for a meagre $27m. Nearly 15 years later, the hammer fell at $139m (€117m) for the same painting at Sotheby’s on Monday night, costing the buyer over $157m (€132.5m) when fees are added.

Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) was part of an exhibition of the Italian artists’ work which Parisian police closed on the day of its opening, such was the shocked response. At almost 5m in length, it was one of Modigliani’s largest works, and the guide price had been a record.

The unknown buyer put the Italian into an exclusive club of artists whose works have made over $150m at auction, the other members being Pablo Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci. .

Closer to home, the National Museum of Ireland said yesterday it will exhibit a hugely important collection of 17th-century Irish silver which it bought last month at a Christie’s auction in New York.

John Magnier stock photo
John Magnier stock photo

It did not state the price, but auction records show the six-part dressing service realised $200,000 (€169,000), which includes a buyer’s premium.

Made by Dublin silversmith John Segar and dated 1685, the exceptional condition of the items was attributed to the long periods in safekeeping for the collection which originated from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, possibly from the Handcock family of Moydrum Castle. Just before the 1798 United Irishmen rebellion, it was placed in the La Touche Bank for safety reasons until around 1870.

This newly-acquired 1685 silver dressing set probably matches pieces by John Segar already in the National Museum of Ireland collection.
This newly-acquired 1685 silver dressing set probably matches pieces by John Segar already in the National Museum of Ireland collection.

It left Mullingar after Moydrum Castle was burnt by the IRA just a week before the July 1921 truce in the War of Independence. After the family left Ireland, the set was sold in a 1930s London auction and was inherited by the Boston-based buyer’s son-in-law, who died two years ago.

Crucially, the Chinoiserie scenes, exotic birds and foliage, and other decorations on the casket, pincushion, pair of boxes, clothes brush and hairbrush make curators confident they are from the same set as two John Segar silver candlesticks and a mirror acquired by the museum in 1962.

“Irish Stuart silver is exceedingly rare and dressing table sets are rarer still,” said museum director Raghnall Ó Floinn.“To be able to acquire and unite parts of the same set, which have become separated over the centuries is exceptional.

 


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner