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Sold! Francis Bacon painting sells for $142 million - the most expensive ever

The price was $60 million more than the auctioneers had expected as seven bidders pushed the price up during a fast-moving auction.

THIS IS THE painting which set a world record last night for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.


(Domini Lipinski/PA Wire)

Francis Bacon’s triptych painting of his friend and fellow artist – entitled Three Studies of Lucian Freud – sold for $142.4 million (€105 million)  at an auction in New York.

Seven bidders competed for the 1969 painting by the Irish-born artist, pushing the price up almost $60 million more than the auction house had estimated it would sell for. The final price was decided after just ten minutes of bidding.

The price smashes the previous record set 18 months ago when The Scream by Edvard Munch sold for $120 million.

Christie’s described the painting as a “true masterpiece that marks Bacon and Freud’s relationship”.

The auction at Christie’s in New York – entitled Post-War and Contemporary Art – also set a record for the highest amount ever made at one auction with $691,830,000 (€511 million) worth of paintings sold.


The view inside the auction last night (Image: Christie’s/Twitter)

Bidders from 42 countries competed for significant works by some of the most influential artists of the last six decades, including Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Mark Rothko.

The sale set ten new world auction records, as eleven works sold for more than $20 million, 3 sold for more than $50 million, 16 sold for more than $10 million and 56 went for more than $1 million.

Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog which sold for $58.4 million (€44 million), a record for a work by a living artist sold at an auction.

“The sale was heavily focused on icons and masterworks, achieving an astonishing 10 record prices and breaking the record for any work of art ever sold at auction,” said Brett Gorvy, the head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s.

Read: Prices for NAMA artworks slashed to achieve faster sale >

Read: Five-year restoration of masterpiece to reveal art mystery >

Read: 8 reasons you’re not a famous artist >

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