Francis Bacon portrait of Lucian Freud to set record at Christie’s auction

A member of Christie's staff looks at Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies of Lucien Freud' on October 14, 2013 in London, England. The work forms part of Christie's New York evening sale of post-war and contemporary art auction on November 12, 2013 and is estimated at $85 million. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images).

LONDON – A painting that brings together two of Britain’s greatest artists could become one of the most expensive modern artworks ever sold when it is auctioned in New York next month.

Christie’s auction house says Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” could sell for as much as $100 million, above the current record for Bacon’s work.

Christie’s contemporary art specialist Francis Outred said Monday that “the market has moved on” since Bacon’s “Triptych” sold in 2008 for $86 million. He said the Freud portrait, “can comfortably beat this record and possibly even get closer to $100 million.”

Bacon’s three-panel portrait of his friend Freud was painted in 1969 and has never been sold at auction.

It will go under the hammer in New York on Nov. 12.

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