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Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
Hirst cabinet sets auction record
Damien Hirst's Lullaby Spring
The three-metre wide steel cabinet is one of a series of four
One of Damien Hirst's trademark medicine cabinets has sold at auction for 9.65m, breaking the European record for work by a living artist.

A private bidder paid almost three times the estimate at Sotheby's for Lullaby Spring, which contains 6,136 individually painted pills.

Hirst succeeds US artist Jasper Johns, whose Figure 4 sold for $17.4m (8.7m).

But Johns is still the world's most expensive living artist, after his work was bought privately for $80m (40m).

Expensive week

Francis Bacon's Self Portait
Francis Bacon's Self Portrait, from 1978, was sold to a private bidder
The latest sale follows hot on the heels of a series of impressive price tags fetched at art auctions in London this week.

Lucian Freud held the title of Europe's most expensive living artist for just 24 hours after a 1992 portrait of his friend Bruce Bernard sold for 7.8m at auction on Wednesday.

The day before, one of Claude Monet's water lily paintings, Nympheas, sold for 18.5 million at Sotheby's, having been expected to fetch around 15 million.

But the canvas, which had not been seen in public since 1936, failed to break the artist's auction record of 19.8m, set in 1998.

The Contemporary Art Sale at Sotheby's on Thursday also saw a 1978 self-portrait by Francis Bacon sell for 21.5m, nearly double the maximum expected price of 12m.

Several works were sold in aid of the children's charity NSPCC, including a neon sign by Tracey Emin, a spin painting with butterflies by Hirst and works by Turner Prize winners Grayson Perry and Keith Tyson.

In total, the Sotheby's sale, which also included works by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko, raised 72m, compared to an estimated total of 57m.

Art experts estimate that this week's auctions could have generated almost 500m.




SEE ALSO
Freud portrait breaks art record
21 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Monet masterpiece sells for 18m
19 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
In pictures: London's art bonanza
14 Jun 07 |  In Pictures
Monet masterpiece goes to auction
05 Jun 07 |  Entertainment

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