The 1942 artwork, painted in Amsterdam, was sold by the German expressionist artist in the year he painted it to dealer Erhard Göpel. It had been in the collection of the Göpel family until Erhard’s widow Barbara died last year at the age of 95 and it was consigned for sale.
Estimated at €1.5m-2m, the portrait, titled Die Ägypterin - The Egyptian Woman, attracted 13 phone bidders and four collectors in the room. After a fierce bidding battle it went to a prominent Swiss private collection for a hammer price of €4.7m (£4.1m), or a premium-inclusive €5.5m (£4.8m).
It is not the first time Beckmann has set a German record. The previous record, also at Grisebach, was Beckmann’s Anni (Girl With Fan) which sold for €3.9m including fees in 2005.
The record for a Beckmann in any auction was for Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell) (1937-38) which sold for a hammer price of £32m to dealer Larry Gagosian in London at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in June 2017.