Amedeo Modigliani Painting Sells for $170 million to a Former Taxi Driver!?


After a bidding war between six people competing for an Amedeo Modigliani painting at Christie’s New York auction Monday night, former taxi driver Liu Yiqian came out ahead – winning the bid and buying the nude woman painting for a whopping $170.4 million!

CNBC recently spoke with Mr. Liu by phone about his purchase of ‘Nu Couché’, Modigliani’s 1917-18 canvas. Mr. Liu stated his intentions to bring the art to Shanghai, where he and his wife, Wang Wei, are respected art collectors, and the owners of two museums. "Modigliani's works already have a pretty established value on the market," Mr. Liu told CNBC. "This work is relatively nice compared to his other nude paintings. And his nude paintings have been collected by some of the world's top museums."

You may remember hearing buzz about Mr. Liu a while back when he purchased the ‘chicken cup’ – a tiny Ming dynasty porcelain cup, at a Sotheby’s sale for $36.3 million. Photographs of him using the antique cup for drinking tea appeared soon after online! He then set the record of Chinese artwork sold at an international auction when he spent $45 million at Christie’s Hong Kong, purchasing a thangka, a 15th-century silk hanging.

We’re waiting to see if Mr. Liu pulls out his American Express card to purchase his latest win, as he did with his past two purchases.