PARIS (AFP) -- An original watercolor from French classic “The Little Prince” was sold for 133,200 euros ($148,000) on Tuesday, Paris auction house Artcurial said.
Six buyers battled it out for the painting, which reached more than double its list price.
“The price obtained for this iconic image is a measure of the status of this universal work of art and its international fame,” said Guillaume Romaneix, a books and manuscripts specialist at Artcurial.
The painting shows “Le Petit Prince” in the desert, standing on a dune with his scarf and hair blowing in the wind.
It was used for the first U.S. edition of the classic illustrated book by aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
The author had escaped to the U.S. after Germany's invasion of France and it was during his exile there in 1942 that he wrote the book. It was first published in 1943.
“The Little Prince” has sold 145 million copies worldwide and been translated into 270 languages.
The manuscript and drawings were bought by the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, but the watercolors were brought back to France by Saint-Exupery’s wife before being sold at a public sale 30 years ago.
Saint-Exupery mysteriously disappeared somewhere near Marseille on July 31, 1944, shortly after taking off on a wartime mission.