Boris Kustodiev's Bakhchisarai (1917) achieved £1.2m ($1.9m) in a sale of Russian Art at Sotheby's London on November 24.
The lot depicts the town of the same name in the Crimea and appeared at auction for the first time, having been held by the same family for three generations.
Sotheby's comments: "The unusual Crimean subject matter alone makes this rediscovery a major addition to our understanding of Kustodiev's work, but it is the dating which adds particular poignancy.
"In 1916 his tuberculosis took hold and paralysis set in, forcing the artist to spend much of the year in a clinic in St Petersburg."
It was around this time, however, that Kustodiev began producing some of his best work - suggesting that his brush with death stirred something within him.
Other lots in the sale included Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova's Reclining Nude (1930), which made £698,500 ($1m), and Georgy Grigorievich Nissky's En Route, which sold for £602,500 ($943,515).
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