Bacon's seldom-seen Pope expected to fetch up to $25M at auction
NEW YORK — A painting from Francis Bacon's iconic screaming Pope series, which has not been seen in public since 1975, is hitting the auction block where it is expected to sell for as much as $25 million, Sotheby's said.
“Untitled (Pope),” which Bacon painted circa 1954, will be sold at the New York sale on Nov. 13 of impressionist and modern art, the auction house said in a statement.
“This is a great collecting opportunity,” said Oliver Barker, Sotheby's senior specialist for contemporary art.
“Paintings of this nature have become tremendously important in terms of asset value,” he said, adding that Bacon's early Pope paintings “are truly unattainable objects” with most gracing museum walls and only a few remaining in private hands.
Sotheby's said the work was last sold, and seen in public, in 1975, when a collector it declined to identify bought it for $71,500 at its London auction.
“The timing is absolutely right to capture the upward momentum of the Bacon market,” Barker said, noting that prices in recent years “have been driven by an international reassessment of his works by the market.” Barker said Bacon's most desirable works were his Pope series.
Works by the British painter have commanded high prices. A female nude sold for $34 million in London in February, and his “Triptych, 1976” went for $86 million in New York in May 2008.
Art prices have recovered since the financial crisis, and Barker said several of the highest prices for Bacons had been realized in the last three or four years.
Sotheby's has estimated the painting will fetch $18 million to $25 million. It will go on exhibition in Los Angeles and be shown in London and New York before the auction.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Upstate New York town threatened by Arizona man in online post, reports say
- New Navy destroyer Zumwalt’s seaworthiness questioned before sea trials
- Iraq War veteran, mother of 2 slain in Colorado clinic rampage
- Storm lingers in southern Plains
- Hunt on for mother of baby buried alive in California
- Military Academy bans pillow fights; 30 hurt during last one
- Colorado clinic shooting suspect talked of baby parts, police say
- Self-driving vehicles closer to getting green light as feds ease stance
- Email address gives FBI lead on record theft of user IDs, passwords
- Newborn left in manger in N.Y. church, police say
- Democrats face long odds in battle for lost congressional seats