The present study examines whether and to what extent the presence of female nudity influences the economic value of Modigliani paintings auctioned in secondary art markets. Female nudity is a constant and recurring subject in the historical developments of the visual arts. Nonetheless, whilst there exists an extensive body of literature addressing its artistic significance, the commercial value of the female nude remains somewhat unexplored. By relying on literature stressing the artistic relevance of female nudity, the present study employs prices achieved at auction sales to investigate whether the artistic significance of this genre has some implications in the assessment of its economic value. Hence, the research offers a quantitative evaluation of the female nude in the art market. Specifically, it focuses on one artist whose repertoire and reputation rely heavily on the production of female nudes: Amedeo Modigliani. By using hedonic regression to measure the economic worth of single characteristics of Modigliani’s portraits, this study is able to analyse whether the presence of female nudity has an impact on the price that these paintings achieve at auctions. The sample, collected primarily from ArtPrice, consists in 924 sales of Modigliani paintings and drawings featuring nude, partially nude and dressed subjects. In the analysis, the estimated and hammer prices are examined against the nudity factor through hedonic regression, whilst a series of standard hedonic variables such as size, medium and signature are controlled for. The research confirms the hypotheses that nudity has a positive and relevant influence on the determination of both the hammer and estimated prices. Although limited in terms of generalisability, the study contributes to existing literature connecting historical and artistic values with econometric ones. Overall, the research assess that the aesthetic value of art can be reflected in its economic worth, at least in the case of Modigliani’s female nudes.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cultural Economics, Cultural Entrepreneurship, Female Nudity, Amedeo Modigliani, Art History, Artistic Value, Economic Value.
Thesis Advisor F. Vermeylen
Persistent URL
Series Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship , Master Arts, Culture & Society
A. Crotta. (2019, June 11). Does Nudity Sell?. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from