Francis Bacon's Man in Blue VII valued at $8.9m

Francis Bacon's Man in Blue VII (1954) will come to auction in Paris on June 8-9.

The work will highlight a sale of pieces from the collection of Zeineb and Jean-Pierre Marcie-Riviere at Christie's with a valuation of $5.5m-8.9m.

Bacon Man Blue
Bacon's Man in Blue VII is the last in the series

Bacon started work on his Man in Blue series during the early 1950s while in the depths of an abusive relationship with former RAF pilot Peter Lacy.

Like Bacon, Lacy was a heavy drinker. He was also extremely violent. Bacon was often forced to escape to hotels for days at a time.

The man who served as the model for the Man in Blue series was an anonymous lover Bacon met during one of these stays, in Henley-on-Thames.

Christie's comments: "Immersed in a deep sea of midnight blue, the slender figure of a man is seen cast into the shadows, isolated, trapped in the dark.

"The twilight tones of the painting are only relieved by the striking pink and alabaster white of the man's grimacing face above his starched white collar.

"The expression of Bacon's genius lies precisely in this face, whose features have been meticulously distorted with an impulsive sweep of the brush.

"In this final incarnation of 'Man in Blue VII' Bacon achieves what mattered most for him in his work - creating a pictorial sensation that 'acts directly on the nervous system'".

An unfinished nude by Bacon, discovered on the back of two paintings by Newlyn artist Tony O'Malley, realised £434,500 ($629,490) earlier in the month.

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