A 1930s painting by Piet Mondrian sold for $51 million at auction in New York. The piece was last sold in 1983 for $2.15 million, which is $6.4 million (£5.4 million) in today's money. The head of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby's, where the painting was auctioned, described the purchase as "a once-in-a-generation occurrence". An anonymous collector from Asia purchased the artwork on Monday. This sale is a record for the artist's work. Composition No. II is a work of art, by Mondrian, easily recognizable due to its geometric shapes with primary colors, which revolutionized the art world. Mondrian moved to Paris in 1912 and was inspired by the early works of Pablo Picasso and George Braque, who also created abstract pieces. Mondrian's unique design contributed to the emergence of abstract art in the 1940s and 1950s and embodies the art style of the time.
"Piet Mondrian's quintessential works rarely make it to auction, as many are in the collections of the world's most prestigious museums," said Julian Dawes, Sotheby's Head of Impressionist and Modern Art. Bidding for the classic piece started at $38 million (£32 million) and sold for $51 million after fees to the unnamed bidder. "The work vibrates with an electricity that reflects the energy of painting in Europe right now," said Sotheby's Europe President Oliver Barker. The artist's work has had a huge influence not only in the art world, but also in the fields of design, architecture and fashion.