The bidding was palpably tense, with six people vying for the lot, and it took nine minutes to sell. Modigliani nudes are regarded as among the ultimate trophy paintings of the 20th century. “This painting leaps off the page as the most vibrant, sexual, lyrical of the catalogue raisonné,” said Ana Maria Celis, a Christie’s specialist in postwar and contemporary art. Modigliani died of tuberculosis in 1920 at age 35. In the winter of 1918-19, being desperate Modigliani offered to sell the entire contents of his Paris studio , which may well have included this painting, to the British writers Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, for 100 pounds, or $300 (roughly $4,700 today).