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Record prices spur art auctions

Feb. 9, 2007 at 3:40 PM

LONDON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Prices for contemporary art were riding high at art auctions in London, as a portrait painted by Francis Bacon in the 1950s sold for $27.3 million.

"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.

Other works sold at the post-war and contemporary art sale included a portrait of Brigitte Bardot by Andy Warhol, which sold for $10.3 million, more than double its estimate price.

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