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Rarely seen Francis Bacon artwork sells for $45.4m at Sothebys

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 01:03

A rare triptych of Irish-born Francis Bacon's muse and lover George Dyer sells for 45.4m US dollars at London auction. Edward Baran reports.

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A Francis Bacon small-format triptych of his lover George Dyer made what Sotheby's called a "landmark" price of 26.7 million pounds, (45.4 million US dollars) on Monday. The 1967 work was one of about 40 such triptychs that the artist painted in a format of 11 by 14 inches for each of the three frames. It was the star of the show for a packed auction in London The work has an interesting history, as Cheyenne Westphal, chairman of Sotheby's contemporary art department explained. SOUNDBITE, Cheyenne Westhphal, Sotheby's, saying (English): "The story between Francis Bacon and George Dyer is actually extraordinary, they actually met because George Dyer broke into Francis Bacon's mews house and they became friends, lovers and extremely close. Very sadly George Dyer committed suicide on the night of Bacon's biggest and most important exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971." The previous top price for a similar Bacon triptych was 23 million pounds while the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction was the sale by rival Christie's of a large format Bacon triptych in New York last November for just over 142 million US dollars. SOUNDBITE, Cheyenne Westhphal, Sotheby's, saying (English): "The driving force tonight was passion. The Bacon was bought by collectors who truly wanted to own it. it was a completely private market that came from virtually every side of the world and people wanted to own this wonderful piece and live with it." The identity of the winning buyer isn't known, but Sotheby's said the underbidder in the tense 10-minute long battle was handled by their chairman in Asia.

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Rarely seen Francis Bacon artwork sells for $45.4m at Sothebys

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 01:03