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Art prices continue to hit record highs as Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of a Lucien Freud" was sold at auction at Christie's on Tuesday for $142.4 million, an all-time high for a single artwork.

The 1969 triptych had never been offered at auction before and had a pre-auction estimate of about $85 million. The most expensive previous Bacon painting had sold in 2008 for $86.3 million.

It sold within six minutes. The buyer remains anonymous.

You may recall that the prior record was set in 2012 when Edvard Munch's "The Scream" was sold in a Sotheby's auction for $120 million.

Not to be outdone, at the same auction, which was a sale of a group of contemporary works, a sculpture by Jeff Koons brought a new record for a living artist.

Balloon Dog (Orange), a 10-foot stainless steel sculpture looking like a child's party balloon, sold for $58.4 million to an unknown buyer. It is part of a group of 5 Balloon Dog sculptures.

There was also a Warhol, Coca Cola (3), which sold for $57.2 million, but that was not a record for a Warhol, however. The Warhol record was set in 2007 when one sold for $71.7 million.

A total of $691.5 million was brought in at the auction on Tuesday, a single day auction record.

For several years, art experts have been warning of a bubble in the art market yet prices continue to go higher.

Is the art market signaling a top as the rich pay ever higher prices for assets including real estate and stocks?

 

Zacks Releases Their 7 Best Stocks for May, 2014

These 7 were hand-picked from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys with earnings estimate revisions that are sweeping upward. Their stock prices are expected to rise sooner than the others.

Today, this Special Report is available to new Zacks.com visitors free of charge.

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