Painting Price Spells Gloom for Economy

Portrait of Bacon auctions for only $9.4M at Christie's
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2008 7:14 PM CDT
An oil portrait of Francis Bacon painted by Lucien Freud is seen on display at Christie's auction rooms in London, Monday, Oct. 14, 2008.    (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – A Lucian Freud painting expected to sell for more than $12 million at Christie’s today went for only $9.4 million, a sign that even super-rich buyers of contemporary art are cutting back in the financial crisis, the Daily Telegraph reports. The art world anxiously awaited the sale of Freud’s portrait of Francis Bacon, a potential harbinger of future demand for high-end art.

“There is a lot of apprehension in the trade,” an art insurance company spokesman told the Independent before the sale. Art sales have been tough elsewhere, too. Last week at Sotheby’s, Andy Warhol’s series of skulls sold for $7.4 million, falling short of the expected $8.6 million bid. Sotheby’s total art sales on Friday were almost $14 million less than predicted.

(Read more financial crisis stories.)