NEW YORK, NY.- On November 12, 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, uniting two of the 20th Century’s greatest figurative painters at the apex of their relationship. 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, which is poised to break the previous world auction record for the artist of $86 million achieved in 2008, will be on view at Christie’s King Street during Frieze Art Week from October 13-18, before being at auction in New York on November 12.
“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. The juxtaposition of radiant sunshine yellow contrasting with the brutal physicality and immediacy of the brushstrokes in this celebrated life-size triptych is what makes Bacon’s art so remarkable. ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ stands as one of only two existing full-length triptychs of Lucian Freud. The three panels that make up this work were separated for almost fifteen years in the mid-1970s and were reunited in their entire splendor sometime in the 1980’s.” Francis Outred, head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe.