Shock Therapy as Paintings of Freud Net Record $142.4 M
Business + Economy

Shock Therapy as Paintings of Freud Net Record $142.4 M


The seven people bidding on Francis Bacon’s study of artist Lucian Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freud, may need a little analysis themselves after making the 1969 triptych the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction, breaking the mark set last year by Edvard Munch's "The Scream." The Bacon work was bought on behalf of an unnamed bidder, according to The New York Times. The publication also identified two of the losers: Larry Gagosian, the art dealer, and Hong Gyu Shin of Manhattan’s Shin Gallery, who told The Times he was bidding for himself.

The art market tends to mirror the stock market, so it’s no surprise that bidders were bullish. A sculpture by artist Jeff Koons sold at the same Christie’s auction for more than $58 million, a record amount for a piece by a living artist. Tuesday’s Christie’s art auctions totaled nearly $691.6 million – another record. But if there’s a market correction, or some other disappointment in the economy, you can count on a twinge of buyer’s remorse.

The good news for the winner: There’s probably a therapist specializing in such an affliction. And if the art market does turn, the losing bidders might be justified in feeling more than a twinge of schadenfreude.

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