Sotheby's sees record London contemporary art sale despite Bacon failure

(REUTERS) - It was the star attraction in Sotheby's contemporary art sale on Wednesday,  But Francis Bacon's Study For A Pope I did not inspire.

With an estimate at 25 to 35 million pounds (S$48.6 million), it went unsold after bids failed to reach the reserve price. 

"Sadly the Pope didn't sell tonight, it wasn't the night for that painting unfortunately but that's not to say that Bacon didn't have a phenomenal night," Sotheby's international specialist in contemporary art Oliver Barker.

Two other works by the Irish-born British artist sold for 15.3 million pounds and 14.7 million pounds respectively.  Big money went for big bucks, with Andy Warhol's One Dollar (Silver Certificate) fetching 20.9 million pounds. 

It was a top seller in the auction dominated by Warhol works. 

"I mean I think really the sales had just so fantastic sort of fresh material and the clientele really responded to that, I mean it was just a kind of vote of confidence of fresh, well-priced, impactful, rare material," Barker said.  In this respect at least, it brought home the bacon.