With the announcement in London that Sotheby’s will add a Bacon pope painting to its other works by the artist in the July sale, we’re offering this throwback post from a New York Magazine item explaining the pivotal moment when Francis Bacon went from being a British artist (although he was Irish) to becoming a major Contemporary artist. (Click through to read the whole piece.) The picture set a record in 2005 at $10m and comes back to the market with a £25-35m estimate or a four-fold increase if it makes the low estimate
Bacon’s work crossed the $10 million mark in 2005. But in January 2007, a Bacon painting sold privately to Henry Kravis for $35 million. [Then], a self-portrait went for nearly $43 million in London, and a pope painting sold in New York for nearly $53 million—the current record. Damien Hirst bid a tiny Bacon self-portrait up to $33 million in November.
How Francis Bacon Began Commanding $70 Million in the Art World (New York Magazine)