Francis Bacon painting sells for $80.8m at auction

Frances Bacon's "Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards" sold to a Taiwanese businessman for $80 million.

A triptych by Francis Bacon of his longtime companion sold for $80.8million at Christie's in New York this week.

Christie’s said the Bacon had been bought by an Asian buyer whose name was not disclosed. It is understood the vendor was a Taiwanese businessman.

Bacon's "Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards" was executed in 1984 and comes on the market a year after Christie's sold his 1969 "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" for $142.4 million, setting a world record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

Bacon, who died in 1992, named Edwards his sole heir. Edwards oversaw the British artist's archives until his death in 2003. The three-panel work shows him in a relaxed pose sitting on a stool with his right leg crossed over his left knee.

Christie's says it is one of the greatest paintings from the artist's late period.

A provocative image by Andy Warhol of the 1963 Birmingham race riots and a seminal painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat of a regal warrior figure were among other big-ticket items up for auction.

In a post-auction comment Christie’s said Tuesday evening’s sale had achieved a total of $744.9 million and “represents the highest total for a single auction in art market history.”