"Study for Portrait II," one of more than 50 works of Catholic church leaders created by Bacon, was sold to an anonymous bidder at Christie's, the BBC said. The price was a record for a piece by the artist.
The portrait, part of Bacon's pope series, is said to show a sympathetic side to the church leader by depicting him as a tragic hero.
"It is the most important work from Bacon's pope series to appear on the market," said Pilar Ordovas, the Christie's director of contemporary art.
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