Bacon’s Pope painting to be sold 45 years after last viewing
A PAINTING valued at £60m by the renowned artist Francis Bacon will be seen in public for the first time in 45 years when it goes under the hammer next month.
Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd
Version 1971 was the last in the artist’s famous series of papal portraits and is set to be the highlight of the sale at Christie’s on October 6.
The painting, which was first shown at the Grand Palais in Paris, has been in the hands of a private European collector since 1973 and despite the hefty price tag it is likely to be a much sought-after lot.
For the painting, Bacon revisited Study of Red Pope
1962, adding another figure – a reflection of his muse and partner George Dyer. Sadly, Dyer took his own life two days before Bacon’s Paris retrospective opened.
Francis Outred, Christie’s head of post-war and contemporary art, said: “It is a tragic premonition which unites Bacon’s two greatest muses, the Pope and George Dyer, for the first and only time.
“The canvas became a tragic premonition of Dyer’s fateful end when, less than 36 hours before the opening of the careerdefining exhibition, Dyer was found dead.
“This painting gives me a shiver down my spine and I am extremely excited to be sharing it with the public. It is quite simply art history.”
The record price paid for a Bacon at auction was £89m for a triptych depicting his friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud, which was sold after 10 minutes of frantic bidding in 2013.