Elaine Wynn Is Said to Be Buyer of $142 Million Bacon Triptych

Jan 16, 2014 1:31 pm ET

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Elaine P. Wynn, ex-wife of casino mogul Stephen A. Wynn, was the buyer of the Francis Bacon triptych that fetched $142.4 million last year to become the most expensive artwork at auction, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Elaine Wynn, whose net worth is $2.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She intends to donate the painting to a museum, said the person, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold at Christie’s in New York on Nov. 12 after a six-minute bidding war, during which more than six parties competed for the 1969 work, including two Asian bidders and art dealer Larry Gagosian. The winner was Acquavella Galleries Inc., a prominent Manhattan gallery whose clients include Steve Wynn.

Acquavella Galleries, through spokeswoman Bettina Prentice, declined to comment on the identity of the buyer, which was first reported by The New York Times. Michael Weaver, a spokesman for Wynn Resorts Ltd., where Elaine Wynn is a member of the board of directors, declined to comment.

Christie’s had estimated Bacon’s triptych -- three canvases depicting his artist friend Lucian Freud on glowing yellow background -- at more than $85 million. The painting is on view at the Portland Art Museum through March 30.

Bacon’s price smashed the previous auction record of $119.9 million paid for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at Sotheby’s in May 2012. It was formerly owned by Francesco De Simone Niquesa, a Rome-based lawyer who advised the movie star Sophia Loren. About three months before Christie’s auction, the triptych and two other Bacons had changed hands in a private sale.

--Editors: Christian Baumgaertel, Mary Romano