Francis Bacon's moody painting brings home $28m at Christie's


Francis Bacon set the art world alight on Tuesday, June 28, as his famous 1953 painting Study for a Portrait sold for an incredible £18m ($28m) as part of Christie's Post-war and Contemporary Art sale.

It had been billed as the main event during this important time for London's art market and auction houses, and did not disappoint.

As well as the piece from Bacon, there were works from Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud and Peter Doig which also sold impressively.


Dark and mysterious, Francis Bacon's work peaked at $28m

Bacon's painting, which has been described as 'dark', is the second most valuable work of its type to be sold at a post-war and contemporary art sale.

The piece which has sold for more than this is ironically another of his artworks, Triptych, which made £26.3m ($42.2m) in 2008.

The strength of the art market was clear for all to see, as the piece had been expected to make somewhere in the region of £11m ($17.6m). The fact that it sold for millions more than this is evidence that collectors are still willing to pay high prices.


Andy Warhol's trademark style was applied to Chairman Mao in this $11m work

This means that there also never been a better time to invest, as if prices continue to rise in this way, similar works could be worth even more in the future.

Bacon's emotional work was produced after the death of his companion Jessie Lightfoot, which spurred him into a period of high productivity and imposing, moody works. Many critics say this is when he was at his most prolific.

Lucian Freud's contrasting painting, Woman Smiling, sold for £4.7m ($7.5m) to an overseas bidder. In all, 19 pieces sold for more than $1m, which included Andy Warhol's depiction of Chairman Mao for almost £7m ($11m) and Peter Doig's Caribbean landscape, called Red Boat, which reached £6.2m ($9.9m).


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