NEW YORK (AFP).- A canvas of violent black brushstrokes by abstract expressionist Franz Kline sold for $40.4 million at Christie's in New York on Wednesday, setting a new record by far for the artist.
The result was four times higher than the previous high auction price for Kline, whose works have tended to be overshadowed by those of more famous abstract artists like Mark Rothko.
Appraisers had estimated the painting, which is untitled, would sell for between $20 million and $30 million.
The sale was one of a string of strong results at the Christie's contemporary art auction in Manhattan, a night after rival Sotheby's held a blockbuster sale netting $375 million, a record for the company in a single auction.
Andy Warhol's "Statue of Liberty" sold for $43.76 million at Christie's, while another Warhol, "Marlon," which depicts the actor Marlon Brando in familiar brooding pose, sold for $23.7 million, above the high end of the pre-sale estimate.
Jeff Koons' sculpture "Tulips," featuring his trademark shiny, colored metal, fetched $33.7 million, while a Roy Lichtenstein, "Nude with Red Shirt," sold for $28 million, far above the $18 million high estimate.
Another home-run for Christie's was an untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat work that went for $26.4 million, while Rothko's "Black Stripe (Orange, Gold and Black)," went for $21.4 million, just above the high estimate.
Gerhad Richter's "Abstraktes Bild (779-2)," estimated at $12-18 million, sold for $15.3 million.
However, another Richter that had been estimated at $9-12 million and another at $10-15 million were among the works that failed to sell.
On Tuesday at Sotheby's, another Rothko, "No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)," went for a huge $75.1 million, while a new $40.4 million record was set for a Jackson Pollock drip painting.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse