The triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) sold after just six minutes of frantic bidding at Christie’s auction house in Manhattan. The price topped the $11.9 million received for Edvard Munch's The Scream last year.
Bidding for the painting – which had never before been offered at auction – began at $80 million, with a telephone bidder finally securing the coveted work.
Irish-born Bacon, who became renowned for his triptychs, painted Three Studies of Lucian Freud in 1969 at London's Royal College of Art.
The pair met in 1945 and became close companions, painting each other on a number of occasions.
The painting got its first ever UK public viewing at Christie's in London in October this year.