Francis Bacon Triptych Will Set Record

A Francis Bacon triptych of Lucian Freud may sell for more than $95 million at auction in New York next month, an artist record.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are already dipping into their Christmas fund for this painting.

Bacon’s 1969 “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” is the most highly valued work in Christie’s International’s flagship sale of postwar and contemporary art on Nov. 12, the London-based auction house said in an e-mailed release.

Christie’s estimate of $85 million at hammer prices would incur fees. According to calculations, the work, if sold, would be more expensive than the record $86.3 million with fees paid for a 1976 triptych by Bacon at Sotheby’s in New York at the height of the last art-market boom in May 2008.

Entered by an unidentified European seller, the trio of gilded-framed canvases, showing Bacon’s painter friend sitting on a wooden chair against an orange background, has never appeared on the auction market before, said Christie’s.

The work, one of only two existing, full-length triptychs of Freud, was included in the Bacon retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971-72.

Recent record prices, such as the $119.9 million paid for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at Sotheby’s New York in May 2012, have encouraged owners to part with valuable works.

Triptychs from the 1960s are Bacon’s most desirable paintings, dealers said.
“Three Studies of Lucian Freud” will be on show at Christie’s in London from Oct. 13 to Oct. 18 during Frieze Week.

A triptych is defined as a work of art or writing which consists of three painted or carved panels that are hinged or folded together. [From Greek triptukhos, threefold : tri-, tri- + ptux, ptukh-, fold.]