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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 09:38 GMT
26m Bacon painting misses record
Triptych 1974-77
Triptych 1974-1977 shows Bacon's lover struggling on a beach

A Francis Bacon painting has sold for more than 26m, just 160,000 short of the auction record for a work by a British or Irish artist.

Triptych 1974-77, painted in response to the suicide of Bacon's lover George Dyer in 1971, made 26,340,500 at Christie's in London.

But it failed to beat the 26.4m paid for Bacon's Study from Innocent X in New York last year.

The Dublin-born figurative painter died in 1992.

Tragic death

Dyer committed suicide on the eve of the opening of Bacon's last retrospective in Paris, in the hotel room he shared with the artist.

Many of Bacon's later works were preoccupied with the tragic manner of his lover's death.

Triptych 1974-77 - the last of Bacon's paintings created in response to Dyer's death - shows sequential images of dark, ominous umbrellas and his lover struggling on a near-deserted beach.

Bacon's Study Of A Nude With Figure In A Mirror, painted in 1969, is also expected to fetch more than 25m when it is sold at Sotheby's, in London, on 27 February.

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