A Francis Bacon painting of his friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud has become the most valuable work of art ever sold at auction – fetching over €100m.
The Dublin-born artist’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142,405,000 (€106,198,000) after just six minutes of bidding in New York.
The three-panelled painting created in 1969 depicts the German artist sitting on a chair from three different angles.
It brings together two of the 20th century’s greatest figurative painters, auction house Christie’s said.
“Three Studies of Lucian Freud, executed in 1969, is a true masterpiece that marks Bacon and Freud’s relationship, paying tribute to the creative and emotional kinship between the two artists,” Francis Outred of Christie’s Europe said.
“The juxtaposition of radiant sunshine yellow contrasting with the brutal physicality and immediacy of the brushstrokes in this celebrated life-size triptych is what makes Bacon’s art so remarkable.”
The painting stands as one of only two existing full-length triptychs of Lucian Freud, and for almost 15 years the three panels were separated before being reunited in the 1980s.
The record price is more than double that of Bacon’s second most expensive piece of artwork.
Triptych, 1976, was bought for £43n in 2008 by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich at an auction by Sotheby’s in New York.
Bacon had previously sat as the subject for Freud, for a portrait which fetched more than £5m at auction in 2008.
Bacon died in 1992 and Freud in 2011.