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De Staël nude sold for record price in Paris

Artcurial

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.

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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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