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Francis Bacon triptych sells for $84m at online auction

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A triptych by Francis Bacon fetched $84.6 million on Monday at a Sotheby’s auction held without an audience and live-streamed to bidders worldwide in a first for the company forced to adapt its big events during the coronavirus pandemic.

The British artist’s work, inspired by Greek playwright Aeschylus’s “Oresteia”, is one of 28 large-scale triptychs — a painting in three parts — created by Bacon between 1962 and 1991.

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It previously belonged to a Norwegian art collector and had an estimated value of $60-$80 million.

Sotheby’s spring auctions usually generate billions of dollars, but with New York City hard-hit by COVID-19, the auction house announced last month it would stream a series of modern and contemporary art sales from London instead.

Describing the event as “an historic evening”, Chairman for Sotheby’s Europe Oliver Barker introduced the auction, the first of its magnitude to be held without an audience.

A bidding war raged for around 10 minutes between one potential buyer placing bids online from China, and another — who was victorious, but chose to remain anonymous — making counter-offers on the phone to a Sotheby’s specialist in New York.

Another Bacon triptych, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” sold in 2013 for $142.4 million at Christie’s in New York, making it one of the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold at auction.

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Sotheby’s and Christie’s 20th Century spring auctions sales usually occur at the same time, but Christie’s announced earlier this month that it would hold its sale on July 10 this year.

While online bids have until now rarely exceeded $5 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s drawing of a head, “Untitled (Head)” sold for $15.2 million on Monday — a new Sotheby’s record for an online purchase — and a painting by Joan Mitchell, “Garden Party,” went for $7.9 million.

The event brought in a total of $363.2 million, the auction house said.

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Stephen Colbert hilariously mocks Oklahoma governor ‘Stitt for brains’ for catching COVID-19 after ignoring masks

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) revealed Wednesday that he is positive for the coronavirus. It could have been the exposure he incurred at the Trump rally. Or it could have been all of those times he went out without a mask saying he was "social distancing." Either way, it was something "A Late Show" host Stephen Colbert found to be a hilarious example of schadenfreude.

"All the people in charge who told us the pandemic wasn't a big deal are looking big dumb right now like Oklahoma governor and chunky Dracula Kevin Stitt, cuz remember Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma full of unmasked open mouth screamers," said Colbert. "Lots of people called it a terrible idea, said it should be canceled. Not Governor Stitt."

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The problem isn’t the campaign manager — it’s Trump: Republican analyst

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Switching up the campaign manager four months before the election when the latest poll shows you 12 points down has nothing to do with the campaign's leadership, Republican analyst Amanda Carpenter explained on CNN Wednesday.

"The problem isn't that Donald Trump has a bad campaigner," said Carpenter in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "They're raising tons of money. They have a boatload of surrogates. The problem is that he has a bad presidency. And no one -- no one, no spin master, not Kellyanne Conway, not Brad Parscale can spin the most important number of this election, and that's -- at present, 137,000 dead and rising. And so what we need to see if Donald Trump wants to turn this around is to turn around his white house. And I have four words of advice: More Fauci, less Kayleigh."

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Here’s what you need to know about Bill Stepien — the man who just took over Trump’s fledgling campaign

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President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is being shoved out of his role given the failures the campaign has suffered over the past seven months.

In his place, for now, at least, will be Bill Stepien.

If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Stepien was part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal, where, as punishment to Mayor Mark Sokolich, two of three toll lanes were closed during a Monday morning rush hour and weren't reopened until Friday.

The court case quoted Bill Stepien's name over 700 times, including an email in which he claimed, "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian." The mayor was born in Fort Lee, and his lineage isn't Serbian, it's actually Croatian.

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