A mystery buyer has bought British painter Francis Bacon's triptych artwork for a record $142.4 million at an auction in New York.

The work - "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" - has beaten the previous world record for the most expensive art ever auctioned held by Edvard Munch's "The Scream," which sold for nearly $120 million in 2012 and was auctioned by Sotheby's.

Christie's auctioned the artwork by the figurative artist Bacon (who lived between 1902 to 1992) on Tuesday, November 12, for the first time.

"The work was sold for $142,405,000, after six minutes of fierce bidding in the room and on the phone," announced Christie's.

The bidding opened at $80 million and temporarily stalled at $126 million, leading auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen to call it is "an historic moment."

The uncommon triptych, or a painting in three panels, was executed nearly 25 years after Bacon and Freud met. While the identity of the buyer has not been revealed, it is easily the most expensive single lot offered for auction. The previous record for a Bacon painting was a paltry $86 million in comparison.

Prior to the sale, Christie's described the triptych artwork as "an icon of 20th century art" and went on to say that the auction was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to acquire the rare work of art.

According to Christie's officials, the painting which is counted among Bacon's most iconic artworks, appealed to collectors as it unifies "two of the 20th century's greatest figurative painters at the apex of their relationship."

After auctioning off the Bacon artwork, Christie's continued its record breaking spree and sold the massive orange "Balloon Dog" sculpture by Jeff Koons for $58.4 million. This is the highest amount for a work by a living artist. The previous record for a Koons was $33.7 million.

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