A painting of a nude by Amedeo Modigliani fetched nearly $US69 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York, setting a new record for the Italian painter.
The circa 1917 canvas, titled Nu Assis Sur Un Divan (La Belle Romaine), had been estimated to go for more than $US40 million.
Five bidders competed over what Sotheby's called the "iconic" and "stunning" nude, driving the final price to $US68,962,500.
The sale marked the first of the autumn art auctions in New York at Sotheby's and rival Christie's, with both houses predicting a surge in demand this season.
Another highlight of Tuesday's auction was $US24.7 million paid for a Claude Monet from his iconic water lilies series.
The worldwide economic downturn has dampened the seasonal face-off between Sotheby's and Christie's for the past two years, but all signs are pointing to the return of big spenders and an ever-more international clientele.
On Wednesday (US time), it is Christie's turn, with works by Matisse, Joan Miro, Picasso and Georges Seurat among the highlights.
The auction house estimates sales exceeding $US200 million.