Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 13:25 UK

Abramovich 'buys 60m paintings'

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping
Sue Tilley posed for Freud over a four-year period in the early 1990s

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich bought two paintings that were sold at record-breaking auctions last week, according to reports.

Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping sold for 17.2m on Tuesday, followed by Francis Bacon's Triptych, which fetched 43m just 24 hours later.

The Art Newspaper quoted sources saying the London-based Russian billionaire was the buyer of both paintings.

A spokesman for Mr Abramovich declined to comment.

He said: "We don't get into personal matters."

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The record-breaking auction in New York

The life-sized Freud painting of a sleeping, naked woman, titled Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold for $33.6m (17.2m) at Christie's in New York.

ART V FOOTBALL - HOW PLAYERS COMPARE
Didier Drogba
Andriy Shevchenko - 30m
Didier Drogba (pictured) - 24m
Shaun Wright-Phillips - 21m
Jose Bosingwa - 16.2m
Nicolas Anelka - 15m
All values are estimates

Christie's described the work, which shows Jobcentre supervisor Sue Tilley asleep on a sofa, as a "bold and imposing example of the stark power of Freud's realism".

It set a new world record price for a work by a living artist.

The following day, Sotheby's sold Bacon's Triptych (1976) for $86.3m (43m) - the most ever spent on a work by the Irish-born artist - also in New York.

The three panelled picture depicts a headless human form surrounded by three vultures and flanked by two portraits of disfigured human faces.

Meanwhile, two more paintings by Freud and Bacon are expected to fetch more than 25m when they come up for auction next month.

Freud's Naked Portrait with Reflection (1980) shows a nude model spread out on a tattered sofa and is estimated to fetch up to 15m at Christie's.

Bacon's Three Studies for a Self Portrait is expected to fetch more than 10m at the same Christie's Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 30 June.




SEE ALSO
Bacon painting sets new record
15 May 08 |  Entertainment
Freud work sets new world record
14 May 08 |  Entertainment
Bacon portrait sells for 14.3m
15 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Freud portrait breaks art record
21 Jun 07 |  Entertainment

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