NEW YORK -- A Jackson Pollock painting sold for $11.6 million, setting a record for the artist and topping a blockbuster auction of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's.
"No. 12, 1949" had been estimated to sell for $5 million to $7 million. Previously owned by the Museum of Modern Art, it sold to a telephone bidder.
It was painted for his third exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in November 1949, the breakthrough show that launched Pollock's status as an American Abstract Expressionist.
Using the drip technique he originated two summers earlier, it was among the Pollock paintings chosen for the United States Pavilion at the 1950 Venice Biennale, an exhibition that influenced the development of avant-garde European art in the 1950s.
Tuesday's auction brought in $102.1 million, the first time a Christie's auction of postwar and contemporary art exceeded $100 million.
Other top-selling works included Mark Rothko's "No. 15," an abstract depiction of three strips of color, which sold for $8.9 million, and a 1967 self-portrait by Andy Warhol that brought in $6.9 million.