Edward Hopper's East Wind over Weehawken has exceeded all estimates to become the most valuable example of his work ever sold at auction.
The 1934 painting sold at the top of Christie's American Art auction, held on December 5 in New York. Consigned from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, it made a 44.2% increase on its $28m high estimate to sell for $40.4m.
The price far exceeds the previous record for Hopper's work at auction, set at $26.9m by Hotel Window at Sotheby's in 2006 - an increase of 50.2%.
The present work was created by Hopper in 1934, a pivotal time in his career following his 1933 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.
Showing a poverty-stricken suburb in New Jersey, the work captures the melancholy atmosphere of Depression-era America, with crooked lampposts and a "For Sale" sign meeting the viewer's eye in the foreground.
The sale comes amid a week of high-profile American art auctions, with Norman Rockwell's Saying Grace setting a $46m record for the artist's work at Sotheby's on December 4. The piece was voted readers' favourite Saturday Evening Post cover.
In turn, Bonhams held its American Art auction in New York this week, also offering a strong line-up of Rockwell works as well as pieces from the likes of Childe Hassam and Guy Carlton Wiggins.
With Rockwell the quintessential American artist, the Christie's sale also featured one of his works, with The Thing to do with Life is Live it (Outrigger Canoe) selling for $1.6m.
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