Important Francis Bacon painting offered in London

One of Francis Bacon's most important paintings is coming to auction at Sotheby's.

It will provide the headline lot of the Defining British Art sale in London on June 30.  

Francis Bacon Syringe
Francis Bacon painted the work in 1968

Titled Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe (1968), the work was executed during Bacon's peak creative period.

It shows a woman lying on a hospital bed and displays the influence of the abstract expressionist Williem de Kooning, whom he had met in London a few months previously, in its reduction of the female form.  

The work was part of the prestigious Vanthournout collection from the 1970s up until its most recent sale in 2006.

On that occasion it realised $15m, then a record for Bacon's work. It will certainly exceed that figure, although no estimate is available at present.

Bacon's Man in Blue VII sold for $6.8m at Christie's earlier this month.  

Henry Moore's bronze Reclining Figure: Festival looks set to make £15m-20m ($21.5m-28.3m).

Produced in an edition of five, it's among Moore's most celebrated works. Another cast holds his auction record, having realised £19m ($26.8m) in a 2012 auction.

It was created for the 1951 Festival of Britain and was positioned right at the centre of the exhibit, enraging conservative critics.

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