Colin Gleadell tells the story of Michel Peppiatt’s secret Francis Bacon painting. Peppiatt is a well known writer and curator. He was close to Bacon and received a number of works from the artist which were at Bacon’s disposal. Bacon took one back and separated it, reworking the canvas and dimensions of the two works. Peppiatt received one part of that work back.
Gleadell picks up the story here:
Afraid that his painting might attract thieves, Peppiatt kept it out of sight. It was never exhibited or reproduced until 2006 when he included it in an exhibition he curated at the Sainsbury Centre, and even then his ownership was not revealed. When the exhibition then travelled to America, Peppiatt was mildly shocked to learn it was valued for insurance at $28 million. On its return to Britain, Peppiatt lent it anonymously to the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester which needed a Bacon and where he would not have to shoulder the larger insurance and storage bills.
Now in his mid-70s, Peppiatt has decided to sell, mainly, he says, because he can’t afford to live with it. Due to its unusually vertical format, Christie’s has valued it conservatively at £5-7 million pounds. “That’s an attractive price,” says Francis Outred of Christie’s, pointing to a full size portrait of George Dyer of similar height but double the width, which he sold two years ago for £42 million pounds.
Art Sales: Bacon’s Two Figures set for sale (Telegraph)