Francis Bacon - Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Francis Bacon (1909-1992)
Three Studies of Lucian Freud
oil on canvas each (unframed): 78 x 58 in. (198 x 147.5 cm.)
Painted in 1969
Sold for $142,4 million / £90 million / 106 million euro
World auction record for a work of art

Jeff Koons - Balloon Dog (Orange)

Jeff Koons (b.1955)
Balloon Dog (Orange)
high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating
121 x 143 x 45 inches (307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 cm)
1994-2000
Sold for $58,4 million / £36,6 million / 43,5 million euro
World auction record for a work by a living artist

Record-breaking Bacon, Christie's record-breaking sale



Christie's Post-War and Contemporary sale on November 12, 2013, achieved $691.5 million, highest total in auction history. Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' realized $142,405,000, becoming the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

November 13th 2013, source: Christie's / theartwolf.com

Highly anticipated and featuring a great selection of contemporary masterpieces, Christie's Post-War and Contemporary sale was expected to be a success.

And it was.

The sale realized $691,583,000 (£435,697,000 / €511,771,420), the highest total for an auction sale in art market history. The star lot, Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" from 1969, was sold for $142,405,000, becoming the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

"Rarely matched in history [Christie's explained in a press note] the powerful dialogue between Bacon and Freud recalls the energetic sparring between Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Titian and Tintoretto, each great painter forever shaping the artistic canon. By the time 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' was made in 1969, the relationship between Freud and Bacon was at its apex and would only grow more distant throughout the 1970s".

"Balloon Dog (Orange)" -a large and colorful sculpure by Jeff Koons- fetched $58,405,000, not only a record for the artist, but also a world auction record for a work by a living artist, and the second highest price in the auction.

In another press release, Christie's explained that "this monumental work with its flawless reflective surface and glorious color, is the most beloved of all contemporary sculptures. Its spectacular form has been celebrated around the world, having graced the rooftop of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venice’s Grand Canal, and Versailles Palace outside Paris. It has become an icon of Popular vernacular, adored by the public and collectors for its unabashed celebration of childhood, hope and innocence".

Also, many other works of art realized strong prices. Andy Warhol's large, important and grey "Coca-Cola [3]" fetched $57,285,000. Mark Rothko's "No. 11 (Untitled)" sold for $46,085,000, well over its high estimate of $35 million. Jackson Pollock's "Number 16, 1949" realized $32,645,000, an interesting price considering that the work failed to sell six years ago. Christopher Wool's "Apocalypse Now" sold for an impressive $26,485,000. Wayne Thiebaud's "Two Jackpots" fetched $6,325,000, an auction record for the artist.


Related content

Edvard Munch’s 'The Scream' sold for a record $120 million at Sotheby's (May 2012)


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