Seen as the "Guernica of Expressionism," the anti-Nazi painting "Bird's Hell" by Max Beckmann auctioned for over 40 million euros at Christie's - a new record for German Expressionism.
German painter Max Beckmann's "Bird's Hell" sold at Christie's impressionist and modern art sale for 36 million pounds (40.8 million euros, $45.8 million) on Tuesday, setting a new auction record for German Expressionism.
The work, painted between 1937 and 1938, is perceived as one of the most important anti-Nazi statements Beckmann ever made. "Bird's Hell" depicts huge bird-like creatures swooping on naked people.
The painting has been "unanimously recognized as the Guernica of Expressionism," said Christie's international director of impressionist and modern art, Adrien Meyer.
Beckmann (1884-1950) was highly acclaimed in his native Germany, until the Nazis declared his works "degenerate," removing his works from museums in 1937.
The painter left his home country to live in self-exile in Amsterdam for a decade, and later moved to the United States. He died in New York at the age of 66.
"Bird's Hell" broke the previous world auction record for a German expressionist painting, which had been set by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's painting "Berlin Street Scene" (1913-1914), auctioned at Christie's in New York in 2006 for $38 million.