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Bacon Paintings Discovered On Lewis Todd's Canvases And More Arts News

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BACON DISCOVERED
Francis Bacon, Untitled (Pope), Circa 1954 | .

Francis Bacon reportedly preferred to work on the backsides of canvases for their unprimed, raw quality, so it's perhaps not surprising that Bloomberg reports six of his previously undiscovered paintings have been secretly residing on the backsides of works by another artist. While painter Lewis Todd is not a household name, his works are now expected to sell for at least $154,000 when auctioned at Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers next month.

The newly discovered paintings appear to be belong to Bacon's "Pope" 1950s painting series, depicting freeze-frames of ghostly ecclesiastical figures. The uncovered images have been confirmed by the Francis Bacon Authentication Committee, after concluding the paint is the same paint Bacon used at the time. Yet how the eternally unsettling works found their way to Todd's canvases remains a mystery. "It is not known how Bacon’s used canvases came to be at the gallery in the first place,” a representative from Ewbanks auction house told Bloomberg.

The works, which will be sold on March 20, are expected to reach especially high prices because of the celebrity status of their maker. When Ewbanks sold a barrage of garbage, journals and discarded artworks once belonging to Bacon in 2007, the sale fetched nearly $1.5 million. After all, as Charlotte Higgins wrote in The Guardian at the time: "It's trash, but it's Bacon's trash." In other words, if Bacon's scraps can score over a million, how much will Bacon devotees be willing to dish out for actual artworks -- even if they are only fragments?

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