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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.
(Read more Damien Hirst stories.)