Francis Bacon - Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Francis Bacon (1909-1992)
Three Studies of Lucian Freud
oil on canvas each (unframed): 78 x 58 in. (198 x 147.5 cm.)
Painted in 1969
Estimate on request

Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976

Francis Bacon (1909-1992)
Triptych 1976
oil on canvas each (unframed): 78 x 58 in. (198 x 147.5 cm.)
Painted in 1976
Sold in May 2008 for $86.3 million to Roman Abramovich

Francis Bacon - Triptych 1974-77

Francis Bacon (1909-1992)
Triptych 1974-77
oil on canvas each (unframed): 78 x 58 in. (198 x 147.5 cm.)
Painted in 1974-77
Sold in February 2008 for £26.3 million to Joe Lewis

Bacon’s 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' at Christie's



On November 12 2013 Christie’s New York will offer Francis Bacon’s 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud', one of the most important and iconic paintings by the artist, expected to sell for more than $85 million.

November 12, 2013 source: Christie’s

We are honored to announce the sale of an undeniable icon of twentieth century art. A conversation between two masters of 20th century figurative painting, Francis Bacon’s triptych, ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’, executed in 1969 is a true masterpiece that marks Bacon and Freud’s relationship, paying tribute to the creative and emotional kinship between the two artists.” Francis Outred, head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe.

This extremely rare triptych executed almost 25 years after Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud met, which was exhibited in Bacon’s now renowned retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris in 1971-72, has never been on the auction market before. This painting is poised to break the previous world auction record for the artist of $86 million achieved in 2008.

In Three Studies of Lucian Freud, Bacon has combined, with characteristic alacrity, a vital human form with a precise description of the architecture of space and explosive, outbursts of thick texture. Theirs was one of the greatest artistic friendships and rivalries of the twentieth century and the trajectory of their relationship over nearly half a century, from the moment of their introduction through Graham Sutherland in early 1945, goaded each man to greater levels of achievement in the field of figurative painting. Painter to painter, their practices influenced one another, as did their characters: Bacon found a complement to his own charismatic but capricious nature in Freud’s confident and considered manner. Just as Freud’s intimate portrait of Bacon, painted in 1952, tragically stolen from the Tate collection while on display in Berlin in 1988, stands as one of the artist’s greatest achievements, so 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' can be understood to be one of Bacon’s greatest masterpieces.

Rarely matched in history, the powerful dialogue between Bacon and Freud recalls the energetic sparring between Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Titian and Tintoretto, each great painter forever shaping the artistic canon. By the time 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud' was made in 1969, the relationship between Freud and Bacon was at its apex and would only grow more distant throughout the 1970s.


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