An artwork by Roy Lichtenstein has fetched a staggering £27.8 million at Sotheby's New York sale of post-war and contemporary art thereby breaking all previous records in the sector.

Sleeping Girl, painted in 1964, was the top lot of the event with collectors from China, North and South America and Europe bidding for it.

An unidentified telephone bidder was the winner of the artwork who paid the record sum for the painting.

Forbes reported that Sotheby's evening auction "acts as proof that the art world has no doubt about the viability of their works to perform as assets. The world of art appears to exist on a different universe. As the world is falling apart economically, with anemic growth in the US, a devastating sovereign debt crisis in Europe, and Asia and China slowing substantially, bidders still rose their offers by a million at a time for those pieces."

Although the Sotheby's sale set record prices for other artists as well, it failed to eclipse the high auction record set by rival auction house, Christie's. While Sotheby's contemporary auction totalled £165.87 million, Christie's set world records at £241.7 million.

According to BBC, the sale came a day after another New York auction saw a 1961 painting by Mark Rothko set a new record for a contemporary artwork sold at auction.

Rothko's Orange, red, yellow sold for a total of £53.8 million at Christie's.

Last week, another Sotheby's auction sold a version of Edvard Munch's The Scream for £74.3 million making it the most expensive artwork to go under the hammer.

Apart from Lichtenstein's artwork, other top lots of the evening sale included Cy Twombly's untitled artwork fetching £10.8 million, Mark Grotjahn's Yellow Butterfly III fetching £1.3 million and Glenn Ligon's Black Like Me selling for £817,882.

Besides the Lichtenstein, there were also a number of works by Andy Warhol, including Double Elvis (Ferus Type), a 1963 image of the singer when he was 28 which sold to a dealer in New York.