Francis Bacon painting hidden away for almost 50 years set to sell for a record price at auction

14:12 • 16.09.17



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 Daily Mail reports.


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. 






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