Ba­con’s £60m ‘hid­den’ paint­ing

Daily Mail - - News -

A PAINT­ING by Fran­cis Ba­con hid­den from the pub­lic for al­most half a cen­tury is set to sell for a record £60mil­lion.

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 ded­i­cated to Ba­con’s work – but it has never been shown in a pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion.

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 be sell­ing the paint­ing, which has the full ti­tle Study of Red Pope 1962 2nd ver­sion 1971, on Oc­to­ber 6.

They have given it a guide price of £60mil­lion, which will set a record for any art­work sold at auc­tion in Europe.

If it sells at this price, the to­tal cost, in­clud­ing pre­mi­ums, will ex­ceed the £65mil­lion paid for Gi­a­cometti’s life- sized sculp­ture L’homme qui marche I in 2010.

Fran­cis Outred, head of post-war and con­tem­po­rary art at Christie’s, de­scribed the paint­ing as ‘quite sim­ply art his­tory’, rep­re­sent­ing a land­mark mo­ment in Ba­con’s artis­tic out­put.

‘It is a tragic pre­mo­ni­tion which unites Ba­con’s two great­est muses, the Pope and Ge­orge Dyer, for the first and only time,’ he said.

Auc­tion: Study of Red Pope

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