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Figurines of Francis Bacon cost more than 50 million USD

The work “Triptych 1986-1987” – consisting of three figurative paintings – by British artist Francis Bacon sold for $ 50.2 million.

The number was pegged during Christie’s “20/21st Century: London Evening Sale” in March, which ranks third in the year’s most expensive auctions so far.

The work consists of three composite pictures. The picture on the left is based on the moment US President Woodrow Wilson left the Quai d’Orsay during the Versailles Treaty negotiations in 1919 published in the press.

On the right is a depiction of the cloth-covered recording device of Russian Constituent Assembly member Lev Davidovich Trotsky, inspired by a photograph taken at the scene of his assassination in Mexico in August 1940. The lamp shines down on the bloody paper, a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life.

In the center is a figure like John Edwards – Bacon’s partner at the time – in a pose reminiscent of George Dyer – the artist’s lover – in the painting. Black Triptychs that Bacon drew after Dyer committed suicide in 1971. The character was naked and his eyes were fixed on the blood-stained white cloth on the right. The body seems to be being squeezed by two pieces of thigh protectors, showing the despair in the present.





Triptych 1986-1987 size 198 x 147.5 cm, oil paint, pastels, aerosol paint on canvas.  Photo: Christies

The painting “Triptych 1986-1987” size 198×147.5 cm, oil paint, pastels, aerosol paint on canvas. Image: Christie’s

According to Christie’s, three frames are connected by pavement image appearing in the first and third frames. However, each frame has an independent value. The subject’s solitude is enhanced by the black space behind.

The work conveys loneliness, human death and integrates historical issues, according to experts. Katharine Arnold – head of European Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in London – said that the mention of Former US President Thomas Woodrow Wilson and Former Member of the Russian Constituent Assembly Lev Davidovich Trotsky, the masterpiece encapsulates Bacon’s meditations on pain, loneliness, and death in the face of history’s cruelty.

“In the big picture of life, death, love, art and war, Bacon seems to show that we’re all alone in the end,” he said.

According to the auction house, the image of Wilson and Trotsky side by side is interpreted by experts as implying “drawing European history in Bacon’s life”. It also alludes to Trotsky’s return to Russia from New York, USA in 1917.

The image of Edwards sitting in a chair on a platform, looks like a large reference book that art historian Martin Harrison called a critique of pain and loneliness.

In 1988, Triptych 1986-1987 is one of 23 works by Bacon on display at the New Tretyakov gallery in Moscow – the first exhibition by a famous Western artist to take place in Russia. “Although many viewers do not recognize part of the work as derived from Trotsky’s photograph, the display of the painting demonstrates a major shift in Russia’s political attitude toward art,” Arnold said. More than a decade later, the work was exhibited at many events in the US.





The image of President Wilson leaving the Quai d'Orsay (left) and the room in Mexico where Trotsky was murdered was chosen by the author as a painting inspiration.  Photo: Christies

The image of President Wilson leaving the Quai d’Orsay (left) and the room in Mexico where Trotsky was murdered was chosen by the author as a painting inspiration. Image: Christie’s

Katharine Arnold says the large three-panel format gives Bacon the opportunity to document his life through historical events. Drawing time Triptych 1986-1987, Bacon lived most of the 20th century, achieving personal achievements and experiencing extreme events. The artist is still haunted by the tragic death of his gay lover George Dyer. As a result, the photographic sources inspired in the work spanned most of Bacon’s life. “The paintings are painted with his life experiences, achievements and traumas,” Arnold said.

At an event in 1991, the artist told art critic John Gruen, “I feel as an artist must be nourished by both his passion and his frustration.”

Between 1962 and 1991, Bacon composed only 28 sets of three large works, each measuring 198 x 147.5 cm. Nearly half of them are in museums worldwide. Triptych 1986-1987 of the few works in private hands.





Young painter.  Photo: Francis-bacon.com

Young painter. Image: Francis-bacon.com

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was an English figurative painter born in Ireland. He is famous for his bold, emotional, crude and somewhat grotesque works. His name started to be famous from the work Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944), now kept at the Tate Gallery, UK. The painting has been called “a turning point in British art history” by Chris Stephens – Tate’s curator.

Since 1950, Bacon began to include his work, portraits of friends and lovers in his works. Artists prefer to draw from photos rather than real people. According to Christie’s, Bacon once said that drawing from photographs helped him interact with the impulses of the nervous system. He tries to reveal the wild spirit hidden deep inside of man, which he often calls “one’s rhythm”. “Even when friends come and pose, I take pictures and then draw,” the artist said. At the 1985 event, Mr. Alan Bowness – director of the Tate gallery – declared Bacon the greatest living painter.

Many works by Francis Bacon sell for high prices. Painting Triptych 1976 Sold for $86.3 million in Sotheby’s session 2008. Painting Three studies for a portrait of John Edward (1984) was sold by Christie’s for $80.8 million in May 2014. Portrait of George Dyer Talking (1966) sold for $70 million in February 2014.





Triptych 1976 oil and pastels on canvas.  Photo: Sothebys

“Triptych 1976” oil and pastels on canvas. Image: Sotheby’s

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