Five artist records were broken at Christie's Latin American Art evening session, held on May 29 in New York, led by Candido Portinari's Meninos soltando pipas.
The sale continues today (May 30), with further success expected for the genre.
Brazilian modernist Portinari's 1941 piece realised $1.4m, a 20.3% increase on its $1.2m high estimate. The price presents a new world record for the artist.
Showing children playing with kites set against a bleak background, Portinari's work is a form of protest and critique that highlights the oppressed working and immigrant classes of Sao Paulo.
The kites are said to represent the aspirations of the future generations, ephemeral and fragile, while the barren wasteland of a background reflects the devastating droughts Brazil faced at the time, as well as the effects of the second world war.
Another record price was achieved for the work of Tilsa Tsuchiya, a Peruvian artist, whose Mujer volando sold for $339,750.
It was followed by a world record for a work on paper by Remedios Varo, as Visita al pasado - a 1957 piece - sold for $291,750.
Further records were achieved for the work of Francisco Narvaez, with an untitled ebony sculpture of a woman realising $267,750, and Milton Dacosta, whose Figura made $171,750.