It featured this painting by the Italian artist Domenico Gnoli (1933-70) which had been in a private collection for over 45 years.
In 1969, a year before his death at the age of just 36, the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York organised the artist’s first solo exhibition in the US, a show that met with critical success.
Unbuttoned button, the 5ft 7in x 4ft 3in (1.7 x 1.3m) painting offered by Millon, was painted for the occasion and is one of a series of works that helped to secure the artist’s international popularity. It is executed in acrylic and sand on canvas and signed, dated and titled on the reverse and is an example of the hyper-realistic, large-scale images focusing on a small detail that are characteristic of the artist at this time.
Similar works are on view at the Gnoli exhibition that runs until February 2022 at the Prada Foundation in Milan.
After the Sidney Janis Gallery show the painting was in the Galerie Krugier in Geneva, the Galerie des Grands Augustins in Paris and latterly in a Swiss private collection.
It had an estimate of €1m-1.5m but was contested by more than 15 international bidders to €6.6m/£6m (€8.04m including buyer’s premium)– the second-highest price ever paid for the artist and the top price for Post-war art so far this year in France.
The work joins a private European collection.