A Francis Bacon triptych of his friend Lucian Freud is expected to break sale records at an auction this autumn.
“Three Studies of Lucian Freud” dating back to 1969 has gone on display at Christie’s in London before it heads to New York next month, where it is expected to fetch up to a 100 million dollars.
It is one of only two existing full-length triptych’s of Lucian Freud. The three panels were separated for almost 15 years and were only reunited in the late Eighties.
“The last major triptych by Bacon to come to auction was in 2008 when it was sold in New York for around 86 million dollars. That was a later painting, from the late 1970s, and it wasn’t of a very iconic subject like Lucian Freud, so for many reasons I think this is a much more commercial and better painting, so I would confidently hope that this would break the 86 million dollars that was achieved for that painting,” said Francis Outred, head of the Post-war and Contemporary Art auctions at Christie’s.
The painting brings together two of the 20th century’s greatest figurative painters, and pays tribute to the creative and emotional kinship between the two artists.
“Each head is sliced in half and we see a movement of the head, a shift of the foot, a fidget of the hands, all created by the flick of the brush, so it is really a masterpiece by Bacon in terms of the way, the technique that he has used to portray his great friend,” says Francis Outred.
Other works featuring in Christie’s upcoming Post-War and Contemporary auctions are Andy Warhol’s 1962 “Coca Cola 3”. It is expected to fetch in excess of 50 million dollars.
Roy Lichtenstein’s “Seductive Girl” is estimated between 22 and 28 million dollars, and Alberto Giacametti’s “Diego en chemise écossaise” is also poised to set a new world record.
Also on sale: “Abstraktes Bild” by German painter Gerhard Richter, the most expensive living artist, and one of Mark Rothko’s numerous “Untitled” paintings.
These and the Francis Bacon go under the hammer in New York on November 12th.