Edward Hopper's famous portrait of economic hardship has just become the new symbol of unbridled wealth.
The American realist's 1934 painting, "East Wind Over Weehawken," sold Thursday for $40.5 million at Christie's sale of American art. That makes it the most expensive Hopper ever sold, beating the record $26.9 million for "Hotel Window." It also far exceeded its estimate, which called for the painting to sell for $22 million to $28 million.
The winning bid for the anonymous buyer was made by telephone.
(Read more: The multimillion-dollar street corner in New Jersey)
"Weehawken" depicts a desolate street corner in Depression-wracked Weehawken, N.J., with crooked electric poles and derelict front yards. One house has a "For Sale" sign out front, highlighting the housing bust of the period.