Saleroom history was made in New York last night as Francis Bacon’s 'Three Studies Of Lucian Freud' set a new high for any lot ever sold at auction.
The triptych from 1969 drew a prolonged bidding battle at
Christie's before it was knocked down to the New York dealers
Acquavella at $127m (£83m), a price which exceeded the $107m (£69m)
seen for one of the four versions of Edvard Munch's The
Scream at Sotheby's New York in May 2012 which was previous
record for a work of art sold at auction.
While Acquavella were believed to be acting on behalf of a
client, the reported underbidders included fellow Manhattan gallery
owners Larry Gagosian and Hong Gyu Shin.
The price was also well in excess of the previous record high
for Bacon - Triptych from 1976 that went for $77m (£41.4m)
New York in May 2008 and was believed to be have been purchased
by Roman Abramovich.
Christie's post-War and Contemporary art sale also saw Jeff
Koons's sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange) sell to a phone
bidder at $52m (£34m), a record for a living artist. One of five
sculptures by Koons in different colours, this example was being
sold by Peter M. Brant, the print-media businessman and art
collector who will use the proceeds to help fund his art study
centre in Connecticut.
The buyer was listed as 'international trade' by the
With eight further records at the sale - including new auction
highs for Willem De Kooning, Lucio Fontana and Christopher Wool -
the 69-lot auction posted a premium-inclusive total of $691.6m
(£452m) which was the highest in art market history.
Exceeding the $491.5m (£271m) total for the famous 'Bloch-Bauer' sale at
Christie's New York in November 2006, this became the most
lucrative single auction ever held by some distance.
£1 = 1.53