Bacon’s triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, is a portrait of Bacon's friend and fellow artist, and although the relationship ultimately soured, it has left a potent artistic legacy. The three-panel painting is the most valuable artwork ever sold at auction, and was one of 10 world record prices set at Christie's Tuesday (November 12th) evening sale of postwar and contemporary art. The New York event achieved the highest auction total in art market history with $691 million in sales.

The Bacon work sold after only six minutes of tense bidding, easily surpassing the previous record set at Sotheby's in May 2012 for Edvard Munch’s The Scream.
Jeff Koons’ sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange) fetched $58.4 million, the highest auction price for a work by a living artist.
Wealthy art collectors from 42 countries registered for Christie’s sale, with Americans, Europeans and Asians among the strongest bidders.
According to the New York Times, the piece was purchased by art dealer William Acquavella on behalf of an unnamed client, following a bidding battle between seven prospective buyers.

Three Studies of Lucian Freud depicts Freud seated on a wooden chair against an orange background, in the quintessential Bacon style of confining the central figure in an abstracted setting.
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.
Christie’s did not disclose the name of the seller of the six-foot-high 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.

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