Nov 13 - Francis Bacon's three-paneled painting ''Three Studies of Lucian Freud'' has become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction. As Sonia Legg reports it sold for $142.4 million as Christie's held the biggest auction in history, selling more than $691 million worth of art.
"Sold at $127m" When you add on the buyer's premium that takes the sale price to $142.4m. And makes Francis Bacon's painting the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction - easily beating Edvard Munch's "The Scream". "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" had never been offered at auction before - pre-sale estimates were for $85 million Christie's auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen. SOUNDBITE: JUSSI PYLKKANEN, PRINCIPAL AUCTIONEER OF CHRISTIE'S AND PRESIDENT OF CHRISTIE'S IN EUROPE AND MIDDLE EAST, SAYING (English): "The Bacon record at $142 million is a record that will not be broken for many, many years. A very special picture, an incredibly rare triptych of Lucian Freud, one of the mavens of 20th century painting in England but also a close friend of Bacon." It was certainly a night of records for Christie's. The 69 works of post-war and contemporary art achieved $691m - including commission - the highest total of any auction. The highest price for any living artist was also reached. Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog sculpture fetched $58.4m - $21m more than Gerhard Richter's previous record. The jaw-dropping prices are evidence - say Christie's - of the art market's strength, especially at the top end. The number of registered bidders was also a record and included collectors from 42 nations. The Acquavella Gallery made the winning bid for the Bacon painting - but it's thought it was bidding on behalf of a client.