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New York City (AFP) – The last of four in a series of Andy Warhol paintings depicting car crashes shattered the pop artist’s auction record, selling for more than $105 million, Sotheby’s said.

“Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)”, signed and part of his 1963 Death and Disasters series, fetched $105,445,000 with three bidders vying for the buy in New York, the auction house said in a statement.

The 2.43 m tall and 4-meter (over 8×13 feet) wide work, has two panels: to the left a series of 15 images of a car crash, and to the right, a large silvery rectangle. It is an imposing work experts describe as trailblazing and a cinematic allusion to death on a silver screen.

The previous top sale for the enigmatic pop artist and son of Polish immigrants, who was born Andrej Varhola in Pittsburgh, was $71.72 million, Sotheby’s said.

The Sotheby’s auction comes just a day after a triptych by British painter Francis Bacon — “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” — sold for $142.4 million, setting a new world record for the most expensive piece of art auctioned.

That work by Bacon, the 20th century figurative artist, who lived from 1909 to 1992, had never before been put under the hammer until Christie’s flagship evening sale. It was bought by a New York gallery.

The most expensive artwork ever is a Cezanne that sold for $259 million in 2011 in a private sale.

Hammered to an outburst of applause, the Bacon surpassed the previous record of $119.9 million fetched by Edvard Munch’s iconic “The Scream” by rival house Sotheby’s in New York in May 2012.

AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand

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