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  • Bacon's Isabel Rawsthorne studies valued at $23m by Sotheby's
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Bacon'sIsabelRawsthornestudies

Bacon's Isabel Rawsthorne studies valued at $23m by Sotheby's

Sotheby's will offer two masterpieces by British artist Francis Bacon, including the triptych Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne, as part of its Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

Francis Bacon Isabel Rawsthorne
Rawsthorne also served as a muse for Picasso, Giacometti and Derain

The three works of Isabel Rawsthorne, Bacon's close friend and fellow artist, will sell with a £10m-15m ($15.3m-23m) estimate on June 26 in London.

Head III, which featured in Bacon's first solo show in 1949, the Hanover Gallery exhibition, is expected to bring £5m-7m ($7.6m-10.7m).

The pairing of the two paintings at Sotheby's is fitting, as it was in preparation for the Hanover Gallery exhibition that Bacon met Rawsthorne, who was herself preparing for a solo show at the gallery.

Rawsthorne soon became a huge source of inspiration for Bacon. She had already served as a muse to artists such as Andre Derain, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti.

Their relationship developed until Rawsthorne became one of Bacon's closest friends - as well as one-time lover - and the artist often portrays her in a somewhat heroic light, obviously enamoured with her glittering past as a darling of the Parisian avant-garde in the 1930s.

The present work was executed in 1966.

Francis Bacon Head III
Head III is an important work in the development of Bacon's technique, acting as a precursor to the lauded Screaming Pope series

Head III is a superb transitional piece that demonstrates the progression of a crucial series in Bacon's oeuvre. This was the first time that Bacon had truly portrayed the carnal ferocity that he has now become known for, as well as serving as a precursor to his landmark Screaming Pope series.

In November 2012, one of the finest works in Bacon's Screaming Pope series sold for $29.7m at Sotheby's New York, making a 19% increase on its high estimate.

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Bacon'sIsabelRawsthornestudies