Modigliani scuplture sold for record figure

The sculpture was auctioned in Paris for 43.2m euros

The sculpture was auctioned in Paris for 43.2m euros

A sculpture by Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani has sold for a record amount at auction.

The limestone sculpture of a woman’s head was auctioned in Paris for 43.2m euros (£35.8m), beating both previous figures on the artist's work and overall records for French art sales.

An anonymous telephone bidder bought the 65 cm artwork, created around 1910 and first exhibited in the French capital in 1912.

The piece, held until now in a private family collection,is one of just 27 sculptures by Modigliani.

For almost 15 minutes, four collectors fought over the work, which Francois de Ricqles, the head of Christie's France, said was unsurprising for something with such special "presence, quality and elegance”.

He said: "We knew the price would fly because there was huge interest in the last few days for this very beautiful piece.

“Collectors are after masterpieces and when one is under the hammer, everyone is on hand.”

The Italian artist, best known for his striking oval-faced portraits, died in Paris in 1920 at just 36 years old.

He was infamous for living a debauched and tragic life, which culminated in the suicide of his pregnant partner. His friends called him “Modi,” a play on the French word for cursed.

Last updated: 12:15pm, June 15 2010