A three-part painting by Francis Bacon was sold to an anonymous buyer for more than $51 million, Christie’s auction house said Wednesday.
“Triptych 1974-77” was the last in a series of haunting works Bacon painted after the suicide of his lover, George Dyer, in 1971. The three canvases depict Dyer’s naked, contorted form writhing on a nearly deserted beach. Dark umbrellas shade the figure as two vaguely ominous figures look on.
Bacon, who died in 1992 at age 82, is considered one of Britain’s most important 20th-century artists.
His powerful, often grotesque work has commanded huge sums at auction. Christie’s had hoped his “Triptych” would break the previous record for a Bacon painting — $52.6 million paid for “Study From Innocent X,” at Sotheby’s in New York, in May.
Sotheby’s is offering another major Bacon work for sale later this month. “Study of a Nude With Figure in a Mirror” is up for auction Feb. 27, with an upper price estimate of $49.3 million.