Portrait by Irish artist sells for £42.2m

Portrait by Irish artist sells for £42.2m

A masterpiece by Dublin born artist Francis Bacon has become the most valuable piece of artwork ever sold by auction house Christie's in Europe after going under the hammer for a record £42.2m.

It was expected that the 6ft-tall canvas of Bacon's former lover and muse George Dyer was due to fetch around £28m.But, the sale smashed the estimate after being bought by an anonymous buyer over the phone.Dyer died of an overdose in Paris two days before the painting was displayed at Bacon's first major retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1971.The piece, called George Dyer Talking, is the most significant large-scale portrait of Dyer to be offered at auction in more than a decade.The work was auctioned off as part of Christie's Post War And Contemporary Art evening auction in London.Also included in the sale was a Jeff Koons sculpture depicting a cracked egg and a depiction of Mickey Mouse by acclaimed artist Damien Hirst.The most expensive of Bacon's work was his triptych of Lucian Freud which sold for £85.3m at Christie's New York in November 2013.

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