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  • Bacon's Screaming Pope paintings consigned to auction at $152,500
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Bacon'spaintingsPopeScreaming

Bacon's Screaming Pope paintings consigned to auction at $152,500

Six canvases that were cut from Francis Bacon's Screaming Pope paintings will be sold at a UK auction house on March 20.

Francis Bacon pope canvas auction
The front of the canvases are covered with Todd's amateur still-life work and portraits

The canvases are expected to raise a total of £100,000 ($152,500) as they go under the hammer in Surrey. They originate from the studio of Lewis Todd, an aspiring artist, who cut them up and used them for his own work.

The announcement of the sale follows a masterpiece from Bacon's renowned Screaming Pope series selling with a 19% increase on estimate for $29.7m in November 2012.

The canvases were given to Lewis Todd shortly after the second world war by John Kesterton, manager of the Heffer Gallery, as they had only been used on the reverse and Todd was strapped for cash.

Bacon (1902-1992) was known for painting mainly on the unprimed reverse of his canvases and was a ruthless critic of his own work, discarding anything he was not content with.

Francis Bacon's Screaming Pope
Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X is the best-known work of the Screaming Pope series

"At the time Bacon was making his name, and his significance as one of the world's most outstanding contemporary artists had yet to be widely recognised," commented auctioneer Chris Ewbank.

"It is fantastic to think that these pictures were once part of a much larger painting of historical importance."

The most valuable of the six oils - each of which will be sold separately - shows the edge and leg of a chair, as well as some white papal clothing on a black and blue background. It is expected to sell for £25,000-30,000 ($38,000-$45,500).

Five of the paintings have all certified as genuine by the Francis Bacon Authentication Committee. One further example, which has not yet been offered for authentication, carries the lowest estimate of £5,000-10,000 ($7,629-15,261).

More unusual examples of Bacon's work were seen in September 2012, when a pair of rugs created during his short stint as an interior designer appeared in UK auction, but failed to sell.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Bacon'spaintingsPopeScreaming