A Vincent van Gogh landscape seized by the Nazis during their Second World War occupation of France has sold at auction in New York for $35.9 million, a record for a watercolor by the Dutch impressionist.
The 1888 work, "Meules de ble," was purchased for well above its pre-sale estimate of $20-30 million, auction house Christie's said. It was last exhibited in 1905.
"Meules de ble" depicts a haystack in Arles, France, where van Gogh lived for more than a year in the 1880s. Unlike his best-known works, which were painted with oils, the painting was executed in watercolor, gouache, pen and ink on paper.
The work was initially owned after the artist's suicide at 37 by his brother, Theo van Gogh. After passing through several owners, it was seized by Nazi forces during their occupation of France.
Following the war, the painting's whereabouts were unclear until the 1970s. It was in private hands until Christie's purchased the work through a settlement with the collector and heirs of the original owners.
Van Gogh is considered one of art's greatest and most influential painters, although he saw little commercial success during his lifetime.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa) ((Dan.Whitcomb@tr.com; 310-491-7290;))