Modigliani sculpture sets 43.18 mln euro record for artist

A stone sculpture of a woman's head by Amadeo Modigliani went for 43.18 million euros (52.8 million dollars) at a Paris auction Monday, setting a record for the artist.

The piece, dating from between 1910 and 1912, had been estimated at between four million and six million euros, excluding fees. The sale price includes fees.

"It's a record for a work by the artist in any category", including paintings and sculptures, said Christie's, which organised the sale.

The 65-centimetre (26-inch) head was part of an art collection owned by French businessman Gaston Levy, who founded the Monoprix chain of grocery and department stores and lived from 1893 to 1977.

Shown for the first time at an exhibition in 1912, the sculpture has "a very defined structure and a feeling characteristic of the artist's work," Christie's said in a statement.

The work is in the likeness of Modigliani's most well-known portraits, with an oval face, almond-shaped eyes, a small mouth, a long fine nose and long neck.

Most of Modigliani's 27 sculptures are currently in museums around the world, with 10 still in private hands.