Bacon painting makes $29.7m in New York


The US art market is sizzling. On Tuesday evening in New York, bidders for contemporary art at Sotheby’s spent over $375 million, the best auction result in the company’s history.

Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s said afterwards: “If you are looking for evidence that today’s market is alive and well, look no further.”

One of the infamous “screaming pope” paintings made by Dublin-born artist Francis Bacon in 1954 sold for $29.7 million (above its already astonishing estimate of $18-$25 million).

It is one of a series of paintings by Bacon inspired by the 17th century Spanish painter Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X.

Is art a good investment? Well, when this Untitled (Pope) last appeared at auction, at Sotheby’s London in 1975, the painting sold for £65,000 ($ 100,000).

The global super-rich continued to spend in New York on Wednesday when a Christie’s auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art raised $412 million.

The top lot was a painting titled Statue of Liberty by Andy Warhol which was bought for a staggering $43.7 million. The estimate had been “on request”; the buyer was described as “anonymous”.