Francis Bacon's triptych of Lucian Freud portraits sells for record price at $142m

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The 1969 triptych sells for $142.4m (£89.6m) at Christie's in New York, breaking record set by Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'

A 1969 triptych of portraits by Francis Bacon, of his friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud, has become the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

According to the New York Times, the piece was purchased by art dealer William Acquavella on behalf of an unnamed client for $142.4m (£89.6m) at Christie’s in New York on Tuesday, following a bidding battle between seven prospective buyers.

“Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” which depicts Freud seated on a wooden chair against an orange background, thus overtakes the previous record set by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” which fetched almost $120m at Sotheby’s last year. The highest price for one of Bacon’s works before now was $86.3m, paid by the Russian businessman Roman Abramovich in 2008, for a 1976 triptych.

Click here or on 'view gallery' for the  most expensive paintings ever sold at auction

 Several other pieces by celebrated contemporary artists were due for sale in New York this week, with 12 of them predicted beforehand to go for more than $20m: the highest-ever concentration of such major works. On Tuesday evening at Christie’s alone, 10 artists attracted record prices for their works, including Willem de Kooning and Jeff Koons, whose sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange)” fetched $58.4m, a world record for a single artwork by a living artist.

'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' by Francis Bacon 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' by Francis Bacon

The previous holder of that title was German artist Gerhard Richter, whose 1994 “Abstract Painting,” from the collection of musician Eric Clapton, was also featured in the auction, fetching almost $20.9m. On Wednesday night at Sotheby’s, Andy Warhol’s arresting 1963 painting, “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster),” is expected to sell for as much as $80m. The current record for a Warhol is $71.7m.

Christie’s did not disclose the name of the seller of the six-foot-high Bacon triptych, which was estimated before the sale at $85m. The work had previously passed through the hands of a Rome-based collector, who purchased one of its panels in the 1970s and spent the subsequent 20 years tracking down and securing the remaining two. Freud, who died in 2011, was also the subject of a second full-length Bacon triptych, painted in 1966. That work, however, is missing.

 

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test