A self-portrait by Amrit Sher-Gil led Sotheby's modern and contemporary South Asian art sale in New York.
The painting, which dates to 1930) sold for $2.9m - an increase of 61.1% on a $1.8m estimate.
Sher-Gil (1913-1941) is a key figure in the history of modern Indian art. She was born in Budapest to a Hungarian mother and Indian father and moved often between Europe and India. In 1933 she became the youngest ever associate of the Grand Salon in Paris.
She was an iconoclastic figure, who refused to be bound by the expectations of her time.
Writer Miklos Losonczi describes the painting's allure: "Pure and true sensualism can be read on her falling black hair and the playful smile of her round eyes.
"Her look is full of expectant desire and the ash-coloured background blunts the expressive gestures of her fiery-red lips, the message of a girl becoming a woman."
Sotheby's comments: "In life and art, Sher-Gil was a woman both within and ahead of her time, breaking boundaries that make her one of India's most compelling figures of the 20th Century.
"A slight hint of an enigmatic smile and a mischievous twinkle in her eye, make this charming painting, one of the very few such works in existence outside of India, a leading example of Sher-Gil's oeuvre."
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