Francis Bacon paintings make £21m at London auction

1966 triptych portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne Francis Bacon's triptych of Isabel Rawsthorne was bought by an anonymous buyer

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Two works by British artist Francis Bacon, including the first painting he ever sold, have fetched more than £21m at a London auction.

Head III, which sold for £150 at Bacon's first solo show 54 years ago, was bought for £10.4m by an American private collection.

It had been estimated to sell for between £5m and £7m.

A 1966 triptych portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne - Bacon's friend, muse and lover - went for £11.3m.

Bacon and Rawsthorne became acquainted during preparations for their first solo shows at London's Hanover Gallery in 1949.

The work had been estimated to sell for somewhere in the region of £10m to £15m.

Other items included in Sotheby's contemporary art sale included David Hockney's colourful tribute to his home country, Double East Yorkshire, which fetched £3.4m - £400,000 more than its estimated value.

Alex Branczik, head of Sotheby's London Contemporary Art Department, said it was a "strong night" for British art, photography, European abstract works and German artists.

"We offered some great historic works of art and achieved some great prices for them, as buyers went down the connoisseurial route - buying with intelligence and passion," he said.

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