Auction house Christie’s set a new record for the most expensive piece of art ever auctioned in its Post-War and Contemporary Art sale in New York on 12 November. With their estimation for the evening’s takings standing at more than $495 million, it certainly exceeded all expectations by grossing $691 million thanks to Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”. The painting was bought for a record-breaking $142 million, an equivalent of €105 million, by art dealer William Acquavella in the name of a mysterious foreign buyer whose identity has emerged over the past few days: Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, president of the Qatar Museums Authority and sister of the Emir of Qatar, spends more than £600 million a year on various works of art, an equivalent of €447 million.

Held in New York by Christie’s auction house, Francis Bacon also broke his own record during the contemporary art evening for his most expensive piece ever auctioned, beating the €64 million paid in 2008 by Russian tycoon and owner of Chelsea F.C, Roman Abramovich for another of his triptychs. Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” has become the highest grossing work of art ever auctioned; a record previously set by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” which was sold in New York last year for $120 million, an equivalent of €89 million.

Another one of auction evening’s stars was Jeff Koons, who has become the highest ever grossing living artist after the $58 million sale of his iconic sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange)”. Other renowned artists present at Christie’s “magical night”, with its headquarters in London, were Andy Warhol, collecting $50 million; Lucio Fontana, setting a new sculpture record with his “Concetto Spaziale” piece; Donald Judd, breaking his own personal record; Willem de Kooning, also breaking his own record collecting $32 million and Christopher Wool, who set a new personal benchmark of $26.5 million for his 1988 piece “Apocalypse Now”. The only two works of art that have ever sold for more than Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” are “The Dream” by Pablo Picasso which went for €116 million in 2013, and the undeniable leader in the art world’s bestsellers, “The Card Players” by Paul Cezanne, which fetched an extraordinary €191 million in 2012.