The painting "The Rivals" by artist Diego Rivera is displayed during the sales event of The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller at Christie"s auction house in New York, New York, USA, 09 May 2018.Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Rivals was commissioned by Abby Rockefeller

A painting by Mexican artist Diego Rivera has been sold by Christie’s in New York for a record $9.76m (£7.17m), the highest price paid for a Latin American artwork at auction.

The record had previously been set by a work by Frida Kahlo, with whom Rivera had a decades-long tumultuous relationship.

Her Two Nudes in the Forest sold for $8m in 2016.

The Rivals was bought by an unnamed collector bidding over the phone.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Frida Kahlo’s Two Nudes in the Forest held the record until it was beaten by Diego Rivera’s work
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo married, got divorced and remarried

It is part of the record-breaking sale of late US billionaire David Rockefeller’s private art collection, which has become the highest-grossing sale of a single-owner art collection at auction.

The colourful painting depicts two men in conical hats attending a traditional Mexican celebration. It was commissioned by Abby Rockefeller, David Rockefeller’s mother, for her own private collection.

In 1941, she gifted the painting to David and his wife Peggy, who hung it prominently in their living room at their home in Seal Harbor, Maine.

Another work by Rivera, Dance in Tehuantepec holds the record for the Latin American painting to fetch the highest sum ever, not just at auction.

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