Bacon’s $169m secret
A PAINTING by Francis Bacon hidden from public view for almost half a century is expected to sell for a record £60 million ($169 million).
Study of Red Pope, from 1971, is the finale to Bacon’s celebrated body of papal portraits.
The painting was acquired by the family of the present owner in 1973 and has appeared in all major publications on Bacon’s work — but has not been exhibited.
It shows a papal figure — which featured in many of Bacon’s works — alongside the painter’s great love, George Dyer, who took his own life six months after it was painted.
Christie’s yesterday announced it will sell the painting, which has the full title Study of Red Pope 1962 2nd version 1971, on October 6.
It has given it a guide price of £60 million, which will be a record for any artwork sold at auction in Europe. If it sells at this price, the total cost, including premiums, will exceed the £65 million paid for Giacometti’s life-size sculpture, L’homme qui marche I in 2010.