“Study for a portrait of Lucien Freud”, written in 1964, was to become the central element of the future triptych. The British artist Lucien Freud was once a close friend of Bacon, but in the mid-1980s he turned into an enemy, notes CNN. The final amount paid for the lot was a record for a Bacon work. Before the auction, the sketch was hidden from the public in a private collection for 40 years.
The turbulent relationship between Bacon and Freud gives the portrait additional value. The artists met in 1944 and were inseparable until the 1980s, when professional rivalry took over.
By 1982, Freud and Bacon, two pillars of modern British art, were not on speaking terms. According to Bella Freud, fashion designer and daughter of Lucien Freud, the broken relationship cast a long shadow.
“He adored and admired Francis. There are not many people about whom my father spoke in this way,” she said before the auction.
Bacon sells very well at auctions, so in 2020 his “Triptych inspired by Aeschylus’ Oresteia” was sold for 84 million dollars. In 2013, another triptych dedicated to Lucien Freud was sold for $142 million in just six minutes, becoming the most expensive work of art at that time.
In the illustration: “Study for a Portrait of Lucien Freud.” Photo: Sotheby’s