Robert De Niro Sr's art sees $31,000 auction record at Sotheby's

A work of art by Robert De Niro Sr has set a new auction record just days after the documentary of his life narrated by his actor son premiered.

Robert De Niro Sr Art
De Niro Sr's art is often compared to Willem de Kooning, with the pair exhibited alongside one another at the outset of their careers

The untitled piece came to auction as part of Sotheby's Contemporary Curated sale on June 12 in New York, making an impressive $31,250 - a 346.4% increase on its $7,000 high estimate.

De Niro Sr was a gifted member of the New York School, a group of artists, poets and musicians in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Inspired by European trends of abstract expressionism and jazz, the documentary paints a portrait of a man whose work never realised its full potential, despite being exhibited at major galleries alongside leading abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning.

Created in 1971, the current work is one of only two to have appeared at auction in over a decade, with many now housed in museums or his estate.

De Niro Sr's later life was plagued by depression and envy of other, more successful artists. A letter in the documentary shows how he jealous he was of the fact that Willem de Kooning made $15,000 a year from his work. He died of cancer in 1993.

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