A $105 million Warhol tops auction

A $105 million Warhol tops auction

Most expensive painting at an auction sold

CNBC’s Robert Frank reports the record for the most expensive painting by a deceased artist, as well as a living artist both sold Tuesday night. Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold for $ 142.4 million.

Of the Warhol, Meyer, who also served as auctioneer, said “It’s a great price – and completely worth it,” adding, “It’s the best painting I’ve ever sold in my whole career.”

(Read more: Art could be drawing a disturbing economic picture)

The price was the second-highest in history for a contemporary work of art – the highest being the $ 142.4 million fetched by Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” on Tuesday at Christie’s, the top auction price ever.

Auction officials at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have said that recent price spikes were driven in part by wealthy collectors entering what is an increasingly global market.

“Global participation was evident throughout the sale,” said Alex Rotter, head of contemporary art in New York, noting that sellers from 10 countries offered works in the sale.

As to bidders, Rotter said, “When the quality is there, multiple people from different cultural backgrounds are going for it, because it’s outstanding.” Sotheby’s said 64 percent of registered bidders were from outside the United States.

(Read more: Bacon triptych sells for record $ 142.4 million at auction)

Sotheby’s also said there was “significant participation” from Asia and Latin America.

Other highlights of the sale included Gerhard Richter’s “A.B. Courbet”, which sold for $ 26.5 million and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers)”, which fetched $ 25.9 million. Both beat their $ 25 million high estimate.

Twombly’s “Poems to the Sea” was estimated at only $ 7 million but soared to $ 21.7 million, a record for a new artist.

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