Antiques: Bringing home the $84.6m Bacon

Des O'Sullivan reports on an unprecedented series of three auctions conducted remotely
Antiques: Bringing home the $84.6m Bacon
Francis Bacon's 'Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus'.

Francis Bacon's Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus sold for $84.6 million at Sotheby’s live-streamed global art sale this week. It is a mark of how the online world of big art sales has quickly adjusted to the new normal.

An unprecedented series of three auctions conducted remotely by auctioneer Oliver Barker in London with bids on phone banks in New York, Hong Kong and London and online brought in $363.2 million.

The Bacon went after a 10-minute bidding battle between an online bidder in Asia and a client bidding by phone in New York.

It went to the phone bidder for a price surpassing the $80 million high estimate.

The record for the highest price for an artwork sold online was broken twice. Joan Mitchell's Garden Party sold for $7.9 million and this record was quickly surpassed when Jean-Miche Basquiat's Untitled (Head) sold for $15.2 million.

Joan Mitchell's 'Garden Party' sold for $7.8 million at Sotheby's.
Joan Mitchell's 'Garden Party' sold for $7.8 million at Sotheby's.

Sotheby's chairman Oliver Barker remarked afterwards: "We would never have envisioned, even a few months ago, that it would be possible to hold a series of flagship New York sales as an unprecedented live-streamed event."

Christie's will hold an online global online sale of the 20th century in Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York on July 10.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up