Tipperary businessman and horse breeder John Magnier sells painting for $157m

Tipperary businessman and horse breeder John Magnier sells painting for $157m

The painting on display.

Tipperary businessman John Magnier, boss of Coolmore Stud outside Fethard, has sold a painting at auction for $157.2m.

It is a record price at auction, the most expensive painting ever sold by Sotheby's auction house. 

Amedeo Modigliani's 1917 masterpiece 'Nu couche (sur le cote gauche)' was sold in New York last night for a hammer price of $139 million, or $157.2 million including fees.

Mr Magnier is believed to have bought the painting for $26.9 million in 2003. 

Amedeo Modigliani follows Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso as the third highest-selling artist at auction. 

The sale failed to eclipse the $170.4m paid for another Modigliani nude at Christie's in 2015.

Bidding was restrained, lasting three to four minutes and opening at $125m before auctioneer Helena Newman brought the hammer down.

Modigliani reinvented the nude for the modern era, and when his series of paintings were first exhibited in 1917, they were considered so shocking that police closed the show in Paris.

Modigliani completed 22 reclining nudes and 13 seated nudes between 1916 and 1919.