Christie’s Will Offer Freud Portrait of Bacon in October
It’s a small, unfinished portrait, only the face has been completed. Still Lucian Freud’s 1956 portrait of Francis Bacon will be offered at Christie’s in its October sale in London and it is estimated at between £5 and £7 million. Bloomberg quotes art dealer Stephen Ongpin:
`It’s a striking image,” [he said.]. It’s a portrait of one icon by another. The unfinished aspect of it appeals to me as a drawings specialist, but I don’t know whether it will to others who want to spend, say, 5 million pounds on a Freud.”
Although their friendship was an important feature in the history of British painting–and now art history–the two pictures Freud painted of Bacon have not faired so well over time. This painting was never finished because Bacon left town. The other example was stolen from a German museum while on loan.
Reuters describes the circumstances surrounding the unfinished work:
The two men sat knee-to-knee for the painting which captures an introspective expression on Bacon’s face, and while Freud painted Bacon grumbled about the enforced lack of movement.
The painting is unfinished, showing only Bacon’s face from forehead to chin. It is believed that he left abruptly when he finally rebelled against the strictures of the sitting. The picture has been the property of the current owner since 1972 and has only rarely been seen in public — in 2002/3 and 2005. It will go on show for the four days preceding the sale.