The French artist's 21 x 17in (53 x 43cm) gouache on paper from c.1954, initialled lower right, had a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Léger in Paris.
From a starting bid of $125,000 four bidders drove the final price to a mid-estimate $300,000 (£223,880) at the sale in Larchmont, New York. It sold to a private collector in the US.
The fine art section of the various owners’ sale also featured an earlier work by a French artist, Alexandre Cabanel (1823-89).
The academic and historical painter’s best-known work is probably his Birth of Venus which was purchased by Napoleon III and is now in the Musée d’Orsay.
The 3ft 4in x 4ft 2in (1 x1.27m) signed oil on relined canvas offered by Clarke, Contemplation or The Italian Servant, depicted a young woman seated on the ground. It had a provenance to the collection of WP Wilstach, Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; was sold at Freeman’s Philadelphia in 1954 and then resided in a private collection.
The painting easily outstripped a modest $15,000-20,000 guide to sell for $55,000 (£41,045).