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De Staël nude sold for record price in Paris


An oil painting by Nicolas de Staël has been sold for over seven million euros, a record for the artist and, according to the auctioneers, the highest price paid for a work of art in Paris in 2011. The painting, Nu couché (Reclining nude), was sold on Tuesday evening and went for twice the estimated price.



Nu couché was painted in 1954, the year before the artist died and was one of his last.

It shows a black-haired woman reclining, depicted in de Staël’s characteristic patches-of-paint style.

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De Staël, who was French of Russian origin, rarely painted nudes, usually preferring landscapes and interiors, although a series depicting footballers is much-praised by critics and afficianados.

The sale price, 7,033,400 euros, including costs, was more than double the expected price of 3.5 million.

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The buyer was an American collector, who has requested anonymity, beating off six other bidders, two of whom were French and one British.

“This canvas, which was worth a catalogue on its own, is at the conjunction of abstraction and figuration,” enthused Francis Briest, co-president of auction house Artcurial. “The bidders surpassed themselves to obtain it. It will not come back onto the market for more than 30 years.”

The previous record price for a de Staël was 2.4 million euros for a landscape, Agrigente, sold in Paris last May.

Paris’s Pompidou Centre staged a comprehensive exhibition of De Staël’s work in 2003.

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