Rare Bacon Painting of Two Muses May Fetch $80 MillionBy
Two of Francis Bacon’s most famous subjects -- his tragic lover George Dyer and Pope Innocent X -- unite in a rarely seen painting by the artist that may fetch 60 million pounds ($80 million) at auction in London next month.
The 6.5-foot-tall canvas, “Study of Red Pope 1962. 2nd Version 1971,” highlights Christie’s evening sale of postwar and contemporary art on Oct. 6. It’s the only painting by Bacon that depicts both muses in the same composition, according to Christie’s, and hasn’t been seen in public for 45 years.
The twisted central figure of the pope, wrapped in red, looks at Dyer staring back from a blue, wraparound mirror. Much of the canvas surrounding the figures is left bare. Dyer committed suicide six months after the work was made.
Bacon’s auction record of $142.4 million belongs to the triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” sold in 2013. “Portrait of George Dyer Talking” brought more than $70 million in 2014, the highest price for a single canvas by the artist.