Paul Cézanne's watercolour study for his The Card Players has made $19.1m at a New York auction.
The preliminary work sold towards the top end of its $15m-20m estimate to an anonymous buyer at Christie's last night (May 1).
Earlier this year it was revealed that the only one of the five versions of The Card Players to remain in private hands had been purchased by the Qatari royal family in 2011 for a new art world record price of $250m.
The fact that this study led directly to the creation of the world's most expensive artwork no doubt helped boost its price, as did the fact that it had remained hidden since 1953, having recently been unearthed from the collection of the late Dr Heinz F Eichenwald, a renowned Dallas-based art collector.
The rediscovered watercolour depicts, a gardener at the Cézanne family's estate, and the only constant figure in each of the five works, which Cézanne produced between 1890 and 1896.
"This remarkable study offers us a rare glimpse into this modern master's artistic process, showing us how he worked through the pose and positioning of the characters that would come to populate his greatest masterpieces," commented Christie's international director of impressionist and modern art, Sharon Kim.
The work shared top spot at the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale with Henri Matisse's Les Pivoines. His 1907 piece beat its high end estimate of $12m by 59.1% to also sell for $19.1m.
We are currently able to offer this wonderful sketch produced by Salvador Dali.