Hölle der Vögel (Birds' Hell) was the unmistakeable star of the night. The piece was created from 1937 to 1938 and is Beckmann's dark and disturbing visualisation of the rise of the Nazi's rule in his homeland of Germany.

Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Hölle der Vögel, 1937-38. Oil on canvas. 47⅛ × 63 in (119.7 × 160.4 cm). Sold for £36,005,000 in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27 at Christie’s London © DACS 2017 Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Hölle der Vögel, 1937-38. Oil on canvas. 47⅛ × 63 in (119.7 × 160.4 cm). Sold for £36,005,000 in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27 at Christie’s London © DACS 2017

The painting sold for £36 005 000, with premium, setting a new world auction record for Beckmann as well being the highest price paid at auction for a work of Expressionism. Beckmann's previous record stood at £1 740 816 from 2001.

''The sale of such a historically significant painting as Beckmann's Birds' Hell demonstrates Christie’s ability to lead with masterpieces that resonate on the international market,'' said Adrien Meyer, International Director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s in New York. ''This emblematic picture has become unanimously recognised as the Guernica of Expressionism and the international appetite was evidenced in the spirited bidding witnessed in the saleroom and on the phone.''

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse). Painted on 26 March 1934 in Boisgeloup. Oil on canvas. 31⅞ × 25½ in (80.9 × 64.7 cm). Sold for £34,885,000 in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27 at Christie’s London © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2017 Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse). Painted on 26 March 1934 in Boisgeloup. Oil on canvas. 31⅞ × 25½ in (80.9 × 64.7 cm). Sold for £34,885,000 in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27 at Christie’s London © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2017

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Le moissonneur (d’après Millet). Painted in Saint-Rémy in 1889. Oil on canvas. 17 × 9⅝ in (43.3 × 24.3 cm). Sold for £24,245,000 in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27 at Christie’s London Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Le moissonneur (d’après Millet). Painted in Saint-Rémy in 1889. Oil on canvas. 17 × 9⅝ in (43.3 × 24.3 cm). Sold for £24,245,000
in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27 at Christie’s London

The auction achieved a total of £149 500 000 with Picasso's Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse) and Vincent van Gogh's Le moissonneur (d’après Millet) accounting for £59 130 000 of this figure.

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