Francis Bacon Triptych Fetches $84 Million at Auction
In a virtual auction organized by Sotheby's, a triptych by Francis Bacon fetched $84.6 million. The masterpiece was sold in what Chairman for Sotheby's Europe Oliver Barker, who introduced the auction, described as "an historic evening".
It previously belonged to a Norwegian art collector since 1984 and had an estimated value of $60-$80 million. A bidding war raged for around 10 minutes between one potential buyer placing bids online from China, and another who was victorious, but chose to remain anonymous, making counter-offers on the phone to a Sotheby's specialist in New York, AFP reported.
Another Bacon triptych, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud", sold in 2013 for $142.4 million at Christie's in New York, making it one of the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold at auction.
Christie's announced earlier this month that it would hold its sale on July 10, but this Sotheby's auction showed that some people would spend millions to buy artworks online amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
While online bids have until now rarely exceeded $5 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat's drawing of a head sold for $15.2 million- a new Sotheby's record for an online purchase- and a painting by Joan Mitchell, "Garden Party", went for $7.9 million.
Due to the pandemic, Sotheby's and Christie's had to postpone their major auctions.