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Revealed: Buyer of $142.4 million Bacon painting

Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 | 10:14 AM ET
Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucien Freud"
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Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucien Freud"

The billionaire ex-wife of U.S. casino magnate Steve Wynn was the mystery buyer of the triptych by Francis Bacon that became the world's most expensive painting sold at auction last November, a newspaper reported.

Elaine Wynnwho divorced the Wynn Resorts Chairman in 2010paid $142.4 million for "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" at Christie's in New York after a dramatic 10-minute sale, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing two unnamed sources.

Representatives of Wynn and Christie's did not respond to requests for comment.

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The three-paneled work, painted in 1969 and which carried a pre-sale estimate of about $85 million, depicts the Dublin-born painter's friend and fellow artist on a chair.

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Never before offered at auction, it eclipsed the $119.9 million that Edvard Munch's "The Scream" raised at Sotheby's in May 2012.

The 71-year-old buyer leant the painting to the Portland Art Museum but it could end up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she is a board member, the Journal said. Wynn also has homes and ties to cultural institutions in Nevada and Idaho, it said.

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Another celebrated Bacon portrait, of his lover and muse George Dyer, could raise up to 30 million pounds ($49 million) at auction in London next month, Christie's said on Wednesday.

Wynn, a co-founder of the Wynn casino empire, has an estimated net worth of $1.9 billion, according to Forbes.

She also owns a work by Lucian Freud, while her former husband's art collection includes works by Rembrandt and Degas, the newspaper said.

(Read more: Hopper painting sells for record $40.5 million)

—By Reuters

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