The buzz around Italian art has increased dramatically in the market in recent years. Its important position in the market was set during this year's major international art fairs and auctions. Amadeo Modigliani's Nu Couché, which was purchased by a buyer from China, caused outrage when it was first shown almost one hundred years ago.

The portrait of the nude woman lying outstretched on a red sofa is of an anonymous model that is thought to be Modigliani's muse. After an intense bidding war between 7 buyers, the painting was purchased for a final bid of $170.4 million (£113 million.) Bidding began at $75 million and after just fifteen seconds the $100 million mark was passed with the bidding lasting nine minutes.

Despite Christie's achieving a number of new records during the auction for Balthus, Gustave Courbet, Roy Lichtenstein and Yoshitomo Nara, like the Taubman auction held at Sotheby's last week, it was a rather wobbly affair as several lots were left unsold. A lack of desire to buy from Asian bidders could be the cause of such results.