Francis Bacon painting brings in about $70 million at auction

Francis Bacon painting brings in about $70 million at auction
A work titled "Portrait of George Dyer Talking" by British artist Francis Bacon at Christie's in central London. (Andrew Cowie / AFP/Getty Images)

A painting by Francis Bacon sold at a Christie's auction in London on Thursday for £42.4 million (about $70 million), exceeding the estimated selling price and representing a record price at auction for a single panel by the artist.

A Bacon triptych sold for $142.4 million in November.


"A Portrait of George Dyer Talking," which depicts the artist's former lover who committed suicide in 1971, had been expected to sell for $49 million. The painting, which was completed in 1966, was sold as part of an auction of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's in London.

The $70 million brought in by the Bacon comes a few months after the $142.4 million sale of the artist's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" at a Christie's auction in New York. The three-panel work was later revealed to have been purchased by Elaine Wynn, the ex-wife of Steve Wynn, the casino magnate.

Christie's didn't say who had purchased Bacon's "A Portrait of George Dyer Talking." A report in the New York Times said that the work was sold by Mexican financier David Martinez and had last sold in 2000 for just $6.6 million.

At a separate Sotheby's auction in London this week, a 1973 Andy Warhol portrait depicting China's Chairman Mao sold for about $12.7 million, also beating estimates. A Gerhard Richter painting, "Wand (Wall)," sold for $29.1 million.