Bacon painting sells for €27.2m


A painting by Irish-born artist Francis Bacon painting sold at auction at Sotheby’s in London last night for £23 million (€27.2 million) - more than three times the pre-sale low estimate.

The triptych, Three Studies For A Portrait Of Lucian Freud, was painted in 1964 and shows Bacon’s friend and fellow artist with a variety of facial expressions.

The painting, which consists of three separate panels and was estimated to sell for between £7 million and £9 million, was sold by a private collector. It was bought by an anonymous buyer in the packed saleroom after seven minutes of intense bidding by more than 10 people from four different continents.

Cheyenne Westphal, chairwoman of Contemporary Art Europe at Sotheby’s, said the"striking painting" has everything a collector in the current market is looking for.

The highest price ever paid for a painting by Francis Bacon was achieved in 2008 when Sotheby’s New York sold his triptych, 1976 for $86.3 million to Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich.

Bacon, who was born in Dublin in 1909, grew up in Co Kildare, but then left Ireland and spent most of his adult life in London. He died while holidaying in Madrid, in 1992. His studio was donated to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin where it was reassembled and is on permanent display to the public.

Bacon’s painting was one of 60 works in last night’s sale of a private collection of modern and contemporary art. Sotheby’s said all 60 works were sold raising a total of £93.5 million (€110.3 million).

The auction also saw Salvador Dali’s painting Portrait de Paul Eluard sell for £13.4 million - a new world record for any Surrealist work of art sold at auction.