The 18 x 14in (45 x 36cm) canvas was the work of the Russian-American painter Nikolai Ivanovich Fechin. From 1923 onwards, Fechin lived and worked in the US, finally settling in California in 1933, where he died in 1955.
Although undated, the painting is very similar to numerous other portraits that were executed in the 1930s. These combined elements of Russian folk art with aspects of French Impressionism. He applied several layers of bright, sometimes garish colours with his palette knife and his brushes, working quickly to create distinct compositions.
The painting caught the attention of international bidders, 12 of them on the phones and several others online.
The estimate of €30,000-50,000 at the auction on December 5 was surpassed in next to no time and the hammer fell at €145,000 (£131,820), with a Swiss collector victorious.