Ba­con’s $169m se­cret

Sunday Herald Sun - - News -

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.

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