The work, titled as Peinture, 200 x 162 cm, 14 mars 1960, an oil on canvas that is signed and dated 60 lower right and on the reverse, was knocked down for a hammer price of €8.2m (£7.01m) at Tajan’s November 27 sale of Post War and Contemporary art.
Eight would-be purchasers including bidders from Asia and the US contested the painting in a packed room, although Tajan’s departmental director Julie Ralli said the work will be joining a European collection.
The painting has been much exhibited including at a Soulages exhibition at the Pompidou Centre from 2009-10.
Equally it has a notable provenance. It was acquired in the year of its creation from the Galerie de France in Paris by James Johnson Sweeney, who was director of painting and sculpture at MoMA, then director of the Guggenheim in New York, and had a long acquaintance with the artist.
The work had remained since then in the same family.