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Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter works bring in millions at auction

February 16, 2012 |  4:15 pm


Francis Bacon, the late British artist whose paintings habitually bring big bucks at auction, didn't disappoint this week when his 1963 "Portrait of Henrietta Moraes" sold for an impressive $33.2 million.

The sale was part of a Christie's auction of contemporary art in London. Gerhard Richter's painting "Abstraktes Bild" (1994) sold at the same auction for approximately $15.6 million.

Bacon's "Portrait of Henrietta Moraes" is a sort-of nude depiction of the British model who was famous in the mid-20th century for serving as the artistic muse for Bacon, Lucian Freud and others. (In the painting, her nude body is partially concealed by a green serpent-like figure.)

The sale isn't a record for a Bacon painting. That distinction still belongs to one of his "Triptych" works that sold in 2008 for $86.3 million.

The seller of "Henrietta" was Sheldon Solow, the New York real estate developer and art collector, according to Bloomberg. The buyer was identified only as a telephone bidder.


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Would you buy this painting by Adolf Hitler?

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-- David Ng

Photo: Francis Bacon's "Portrait of Henrietta Moraes." Credit: Matt Dunham / Associated Press