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Sun 14 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

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Abramovich follows his art

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was reportedly the mystery collector who snapped up two record-breaking paintings earlier this year. According to the Art Newspaper, the London-based Chelsea FC owner went on a $120m spending spree over one week in May.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was reportedly the mystery collector who snapped up two record-breaking paintings earlier this year. According to the Art Newspaper, the London-based Chelsea FC owner went on a $120m spending spree over one week in May.

However, much to the disappointment of Blues’ fans, the objects of his spending spree were not free-scoring forwards or rock-solid defenders but two pieces of artwork from Christie’s and Sotheby’s in New York.

It is claimed he bought Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping for $33.6m followed by Francis Bacon’s Triptych (1976) for $86.3m within the space of 24 hours. The sum is two and a half times the amount Abramovich spent signing Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba four years ago.

The Freud painting marked a record for the most ever spent on a work by a living artist. The Bacon broke two records - for the most ever spent on a work by the British artist, and the most paid at auction on any contemporary work of art.

If the reports are true, the purchases represent the first foray by the billionaire into the art world and underline Abramovich’s penchant for not bothering with buying anything but the highest level on offer. It is thought his girlfriend, Daria ‘Dasha’ Zhukova, 25, is behind his desire to buy into the art market.

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