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.
(Read more Damien Hirst stories.)