Entertainment & Arts

Francis Bacon nude portrait sells for £21m

Portrait of Henrietta Moraes by Francis Bacon
The portrait has been in the hands of a private collector for 30 years

A nude portrait by Francis Bacon, of the Soho model Henrietta Moraes, has sold for £21m at Christie's in London.

The painting had been in the hands of a private collector and has not been seen in public for 15 years.

The amount was one of the highest fetched by a work of post-war contemporary art at Christie's.

The current record for a Bacon was set at Sotheby's in New York in May 2008, when one of the Irish-born artist's Triptychs sold for $86.3m (£55m).

Bacon painted more than a dozen portraits of Moraes, a familar Soho denizen who also posed for Lucien Freud.

Francis Outred, of Christie's, said the painting sold this week was "one of the most seductive and sexually-charged" he had ever encountered.

The £21.3m price - paid by an anonymous bidder - was more than £1m above the auction house's top estimate.

The same event also saw a Lucien Freud etching sold for £145,250 - the highest amount that one of the late artist's prints has ever fetched at auction.

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