Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi, which set a new world auction record for sculpture at Christie’s in New York on May 4 when it sold for $24.5m (£13.6m) hammer.

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The marble on a stone work, standing 4ft (1.2m) high overall, sold on May 4 for $24.5m (£13.6m). At this level it not only eclipsed its $8m-12m estimate but also set a new auction high for any sculpture, beating the $16.5m (£11.2m) paid for another Brancusi work, his Danaide, in the same rooms in 2002.

Brancusi had a number of favourite subjects which he evolved over the years. This particular work, which was created in 1922-23, is a relatively early exploration of the Bird in Space theme and is a recent rediscovery. Found a few months ago in a North European mansion, it had been in the ownership of the vendor's family since 1937 and was still preserved in the crate in which its original owner, the art collector and Brancusi patron Léonie Ricou, had packed it when moving home from Paris to Brussels in 1928.