At a high-end modern art auction in New York City on Nov. 13, previous sales price records fell by the wayside, as paintings by Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Willem de Kooning fetched astounding sums.
In a sale that had been billed as the art auction to top all art auctions, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," a triptych by Francis Bacon from 1969 that depicts fellow painter, and Bacon's friend, Lucian Freud sitting on a wooden chair was bought by a consortium of super rich bidders for $142.4 million, according to The New York Times. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Bacon sales sizzling
The auction house house that hosted the event had estimated the Bacon triptych would go for "just" $85 million, making the eventual price nearly twice its projected amount. It is believed that the work went for such a jaw-dropping price not only due to the extraordinary talent it displays on the part of Bacon, but because its subject is a world-renowned artist in his own right.
The $142 million number set a new record for a work of art sold at auction, topping the nearly $120 million price tag that ended up being attached to Edvard Munch's "The Scream" when it went up for bid in May 2012.
Warhol still has popular cache
Bacon's work wasn't the only lot to crack the nine-figure barrier. A coveted Andy Warhol painting that captures the immediate aftermath of a car crash, titled "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)," which the famed pop artist produced in 1963, went for $105 million. That broke the previous sale price record for a Warhol work at auction, which was set by a similar piece, "Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)," when it sold for a little more than $70 million in 2007.
But "Silver Car Crash" wasn't the only Warhol to draw huge amounts of interest and cash. "Coca-Cola (3)" went for more than $57 million and a portrait he made of Elizabeth Taylor, titled "Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)," was sold for $20 million. The Nov. 12 auction once again cemented Warhol's place in American culture, even though it has been more than 15 years since his death.
Worldwide art market
The New York City auction was one of a handful that have taken place across the globe in recent weeks. In November alone, auction houses around the world have sold more than $2 billion worth of art and jewelry. The Nov. 12 auction contributed nearly $700 million to that total, making it the highest ever total for a single auction. Aside from Bacon and Warhol, Willem de Kooning's "Untitled VIII" was the biggest contributor to that amount, going for more than $25 million.
"The demand for seminal works by historical important artists is truly unquestionable, and we will keep witnessing new records being broken," Michael Frahm, a contemporary art adviser and partner at the London-based Frahm Ltd., told The Associated Press. "This is the ultimate trophy hunting."
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