They provided a large chunk of the overall £415m (including premium) from the sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Phillips and Bonhams. One day sale was still due to take place at the time of going to press.
The top lot of the week was a Francis Bacon portrait of his friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud that was offered at Sotheby’s evening sale of British Art on June 29 (The Jubilee Auction).
The 6ft 6in x 4ft 10in (1.98 x 1.48m) oil on canvas from 1964 had an unpublished estimate reportedly in excess of £34m.
It was the subject of an irrevocable bid, meaning it was always bound to sell on the night, and was knocked down at £37.5m (£43.3m with premium).
The painting had originally been part of a triptych with each section showing Freud in a different pose.
The three canvases became separated after it had last been exhibited publicly in Dublin in 1965, with this central panel being sold to British collector Colin Tennant (the 3rd Baron Glenconner) and the two side panels later ending up in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and a private collection.
Sotheby’s Jubilee Auction raised £72.3m from 33 lots with records set for artists such as Frank Auerbach, Pauline Boty and Francis Cadell.
Christie’s sales also produced some high sums for Mod Brit artists, including the record for Dame Barbara Hepworth reported separately in this issue.
Its highest price of the week came for one of the 41 paintings by Claude Monet of London’s Waterloo Bridge painted between 1899-1904. Estimated at £22m-32m, it was knocked down at £26m (£30.1m with premium).