NEW YORK-A painting by American Barnett Newman, ‘Black Fire I,’ went under the gavel for $84 million Tuesday at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art auction in New York, a record price for the artist.

Barnett’s black and white piece topped the $80.805 million raked in for Francis Bacon’s ‘Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards,’ a collection of three canvases painted in 1984. ‘Black Fire I’ sparked a contentious bidding war between two telephone bidders, ending with a standing ovation as the hammer fell with a price of $84.165 million, far exceeding the estimated value of $50 million.