Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 12:44 UK

Record price for Koons sculpture

The stainless steel work has been on display in London's St James Square

A Jeff Koons sculpture resembling a balloon model has sold for a record 12.9m at Christie's in London.

Balloon Flower (Magenta), a 9ft (2.75m) piece in high chromium stainless steel, looks like a modelling balloon twisted into the shape of a flower.

It fetched the highest price at auction for any of the US artist's work.

The sculpture was sold as part of a post-war and contemporary art sale, that included work by Francis Bacon, Gilbert and George and Lucian Freud.

A piece of work by UK-based duo Gilbert and George, called To her Majesty, also reached a record price of 1.9m.

Bacon's previously unseen Three Studies for a Self Portrait - owned by the same person since it was painted in the mid-1970s - sold for 17.3m.

Naked Portrait, by Freud, which was described by Christie's as one of his most important pieces to be offered at auction, fetched 11.8m.

This is the second highest price for any of Freud's paintings and comes a month after his life-sized portrayal of a sleeping, naked woman set a new world record price for a work by a living artist.

The 1995 portrait, titled Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold for $33.6m (17.2m) at Christie's in New York.

Last week, a Claude Monet painting - Le Bassin Aux Nympheas - fetched a record 40.9m at an auction also held at Christie's in London.

All the auction prices included the buyer's premium - an additional fee kept by the auction house.

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