The painting sold for $45 834 365, with premium, (£36 005 000) setting a new world auction record for Beckmann as well as being the highest price paid at auction for a work of Expressionism. Beckmann's previous record stood at $22 55 750 from 2001.

''The sale of such a historically significant painting as Beckmann's Birds' Hell demonstrates Christie’s ability to lead with masterpieces that resonate on the international market,'' said Adrien Meyer, International Director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s in New York. ''This emblematic picture has become unanimously recognised as the Guernica of Expressionism and the international appetite was evidenced in the spirited bidding witnessed in the saleroom and on the phone.''

The auction achieved a total of $191 981 172 (£149 500 000) with Picasso's Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse) and Vincent van Gogh's Le moissonneur (d’après Millet) accounting for $75 932 085 (£59 130 000) of this figure.