Cy Twombly’s Leda and the Swan (1962) headlined Christie’s Post-war and Contemporary Art sale in New York on Wednesday night.
It made $52.8m, towards the top end of its $35m-55m estimate.
Cy Twombly was inspired by the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean
Twombly (1928-2011) was born in the US but moved to Rome in 1957. While there his work began to take on themes inspired by the ancient culture of the Mediterranean.
Leda and the Swan is a famous story from Greek mythology.
Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer (1963) achieved $51.7m.
Dyer, a former burglar, became Bacon’s long-term partner in 1963.
Their relationship was long and tempestuous, ending with their estrangement and Dyer’s suicide in 1971.
This triptych was painted soon after their first meeting. It was originally owned by the author Roald Dahl, who bought it directly from Bacon.
The auction pulled in $449.9m, a figure that would have been closer to $500m had proposed White House plans for tax cuts for billionaires not been affected by recent scandals.
Bidder Andrew Fabricant, director of Chicago’s Richard Gray Gallery, explained to ArtNews: “The sale did extremely well, but when it comes during a down day in the market, it affects people psychologically.
“When it comes to the Twombly or the Bacon, I don’t think anyone who’s bidding is worried about when their next car payment is coming in—but it does have an effect, just psychologically.”
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