A lifesize Henri Matisse sculpture of a woman has broken the auction prize for the artist after selling for $48.8million (£30.2m) at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York City. A bidding war sent the price of the bronze relief sculpture Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV), well above its pre-sale estimate of up to $35 million.
The sculpture of a woman leaning on a wall as seen from behind is from Matisse’s Back series of life-size relief sculptures. Matisse is said to have created a series of four of the bronze reliefs from 1908 to 1931. The singular pattern of the works is a woman leaning against a wall seen from behind.
According to Christie’s officials, who described Wednesday’s sale as extraordinary, it is the first time one of these colossal Matisse bronzes has been sold at auction. Another highlight of Wednesday night’s auction was the sale of Violon et guitare, an oil painting by Jean Gris that fetched $28.6 million and set a record for the Spanish artist.
The 84-lot sale was 80 percent sold by lot and 88 percent sold by value. Christie’s registered a total of $231.4 million, which fell within the range forecast by auction officials.