Pablo Picasso's Le Sauvetage (1932) made $31.5m at Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on May 7, exceeding its $18m valuation by 75.1%.
The painting shows Picasso's mistress and muse Marie-Therese Walter being rescued from drowning and is one of a series he produced after she contracted an illness from swimming in the river Marne.
The sale took place the day after Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, which saw Portrait De Femme sell for $22.5m.
It depicts Dora Maar - another of Picasso's mistresses.
Allegedly, the two women once fought after running into one another at Picasso's studio, a situation he later described as one of his "choicest memories".
La Seance Du Matin by Henri Matisse made $19.2m.
The painting was executed in 1924 and depicts the artist's assistant Henriette Darricarrere, who appears in a number of his works from his Nice period.
Matisse arrived in the city in 1917, drawn by the Mediterranean light, and his work from that era tends to utilise more traditional styles of composition and technique than in his earlier years in Paris.
Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose holds his auction record, selling for $41.1m at Christie's Paris in 2010. Values remain comparatively low against similarly important artists from the same era, such as Picasso.
We have a striking postcard signed by Picasso in 1967.
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