In recent art world news, a painting by the late figurative artist Francis Bacon that has been in a private collection for the past 45 years and never loaned could become the most expensive art work ever sold at auction in Europe when it is set to be sold at Christie’s London on October 6, 2017. The painting entitled “Study of Red Pope 1962. 2nd Version 1971” has an estimate of around £60 million ($81 million).
The painting was exhibited at the Bacon retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971, then in Dusseldorf the next year, before vanishing from public view. The family of the present owner acquired the work in 1973.
Christie’s believes the painting could set a new record for a work of art sold at auction in Europe and will likely surpass the £65 million ($104.3 million) record fetched for Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” bronze sculpture in 2010. (The winning bid for that work was £58 million with the final amount including the buyer’s premium). If the painting obtains its £60 million estimate, the work will fetch around £67 million ($90 million) with the buyer’s premium.
The work will not be the most expensive Bacon painting ever sold at auction – that record is currently held by “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” (1969), a triptych that fetched $142.4 million in New York in 2013.
The painting is set to go on display at Christie’s London beginning September 30 before next month’s October 6 sale.