London Art Sales Soar

Bacon tops Sotheby's contemporary auctions; London shows new art-market clout
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2007 11:45 AM CDT
%u20AC14.2 million) Sotheby's, the auction house, said in a statement, adding that the sale had propelled Hirst past previous best-seller Jasper Johns, whose "Figure 4" netted about $17 million (%u20AC13...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Francis Bacon took top honors and Damien Hirst became the highest-priced living artist—beating out Jasper Johns—at Sotheby's contemporary auctions in London last week. A 1971 Bacon self-portrait went for $43.2 million, and the Hirst pill cabinet called "Lullaby Spring" for $19.4 million. "Hirst is the Google of the art world,''  a New York dealer told Bloomberg.

Prices show the boom in confidence in "new masters," and the emergence  of London, buoyed by the strength of the pound,  as  a a competitor to New York for sales. Wealthy new  buyers from the former Soviet Union have also pushed prices to record levels, the New York Times reports.