Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Painted in 1969 at London's Royal College of Art, after his studio was destroyed in a fire, Francis Bacon's triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud, as set a new record for a painting sold at auction. The painting was sold at Christie's New York after six minutes of fierce bidding for $142m (£89m, €106m), easily surpassing the previous record of $119.9m (£74m) paid last year for Edvard Munch's The Scream.
Considered one of Bacon's greatest masterpieces, the triptych marks the friendship between Bacon and Lucian Freud, who got acquainted in 1945 and became close companions, painting each other on a number of occasions.
This was the first time that the Three Studies of Lucian Freud had been offered at auction and bidding opened at $80m (£50m, 60m euros). Its presale estimate was $85m (£53m, €64m).
Exhibited in Francis Bacon's retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris in 1971-1972, the three panels that form the painting were separated in the mid-1970s.
Later in 1985, one panel was shown at the Tate, before the three sections were reassembled.
The complete work was displayed in New Haven, Connecticut in 1999 and in October this year it got its first ever UK public viewing at Christie's in London.
The absolute record for a work of art belongs to Cézanne's painting "The Card Players" sold in 2011 for €190 million (£158 million, $250 million) to the royal family of Qatar, beating the previous record of €106.4 million (£88.7 million, $141 million) paid for Jackson Pollock’s “No 5, 1948” sold by David Geffen in 2006.