Loic Gouzer has landed a walloping $50-70m Francis Bacon triptych for May without a guarantee (you may have seen this work mentioned in Katya Kazakina’s recent Bloomberg story. Here’s how Christie’s describes the work:
Christie’s will feature Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer, 1963 as a central highlight in its May 17 Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale in New York (estimate: $50,000,000-70,000,000). Painted in 1963, Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer marks the beginning of Francis Bacon’s relationship with Dyer, his greatest source of inspiration. This triptych is the very first portrait Bacon made of his longtime muse who came to feature in many of the artist’s most arresting and sought after works. Dyer came to appear in at least forty of Bacon’s paintings, many of which were created after his death in Paris in 1971. The convulsive beauty of this work represents the flowering of Bacon’s infatuation with Dyer, and is only one of five triptychs of Dyer that the artist painted in this intimate scale.
The present example once resided in the collection of Bacon’s close friend, Roald Dahl. The celebrated author became an adamant admirer of Bacon’s work upon first encounter at a touring exhibition in 1958. However, collecting his work was not financially viable at the time. In the 1960’s, Dahl’s career saw new heights. He published celebrated books, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and he wrote the screenplay for the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. Buoyed by his newfound success, Dahl acquired four judiciously chosen works by Bacon between 1964 and 1967. The present tryptic was among them.