Irish Horse Breeder John Magnier to Sell His US$150m Modigliani Nude

Last night, Sotheby’s unveiled Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) in, making headlines in the art world with its highest estimate ever offered at auction. Though the auction house refused to disclose any information about the owner, it is widely known in the art world that the painting comes from the collection of John Magnier, a 70-year-old Irish horse breeder.

The painting last appeared in the market at Christie’s New York in 2003, sold by Steve Wynn (image above), the casino mogul who founded Wynn Resorts. The painting sold for US$26.9m to John Magnier (image below). 

According to the provenance provided by Sotheby’s, the present owner acquired Modigliani’s Nu couché from the above sale. If the painting has not been resold or transferred to another, it reaffirms the identity of the present owner to be John Magnier. If the final price sold reaches or even exceeds its estimate, then the purchase will bring in more than fivefold increase from the investment made by Magnier. 

Magnier, the owner of Coolmore Stud, the world’s biggest breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. His net worth is estimated at €2.2billion in 2017. Besides his interest in Modigliani’s work, Magnier is also known to own Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Omai, which he acquired for £10.3m at Sotheby’s London in 2001.

Portrait of Omai, painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1776


Amedeo Modigliani. Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)

Lot no.: 18
Created in: 1917
Size: 89.5 x 146.7cm

  • Léopold Zborowski, Paris (acquired from the artist)
  • Jonas Netter, Paris (acquired by 1926)
  • Private Collection, Paris (by descent from the above)
  • Private Collection, United States (acquired from the above and sold: Christie’s, New York, November 4, 2003, lot 29)
  • Acquired at the above sale

Estimate: US$150,000,000


Auction details

Auction house: Sotheby's New York
Sale: Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale
Lots offered: 46
2018/5/4 - 5|10am - 5pm
2018/5/6|1pm - 5pm
2018/5/7 - 12|10am - 5pm
2018/5/13|1pm - 5pm
2018/5/14|10am - 1pm
Auction: 2018/5/14|7pm