The billionaire ex-wife of U.S. casino magnate Steve Wynn was the mystery buyer of the triptych by Francis Bacon that became the world’s most expensive painting sold at auction last November, a newspaper reported.
Elaine Wynn – who divorced the Wynn Resorts Ltd. chairman in 2010 – paid $142.4-million (U.S.) for “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” at Christie’s in New York after a dramatic 10-minute sale, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing two unnamed sources.
Representatives of Wynn and Christie’s did not respond to requests for comment.
The triptych, painted in 1969 and which carried a presale estimate of about $85-million, depicts the Dublin-born painter’s friend and fellow artist on a chair.
Never before offered at auction, it eclipsed the $119.9-million that Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” raised at Sotheby’s in May, 2012.
The 71-year-old buyer lent the painting to the Portland Art Museum but it could end up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she is a board member, the Journal said. Wynn also has homes and ties to cultural institutions in Nevada and Idaho, it said.
Another celebrated Bacon portrait, of his lover and muse George Dyer, could raise up to £30-million ($49-million) at auction in London next month, Christie’s said on Wednesday. Wynn, a co-founder of the Wynn casino empire, has an estimated net worth of $1.9-billion, according to Forbes.
She also owns a work by Lucian Freud, while her former husband’s art collection includes works by Rembrandt and Degas, the newspaper said.