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    Francis Bacon Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on Light Ground)

    Francis Bacon
    Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on Light Ground)  (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £26,682,500

    An outstanding example by Francis Bacon – Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground) – will come up at Sotheby’s in London on  June 30.  The small scale triptych dates from 1964 and is estimated at £15-20 million. It is one of only five known depictions of Dyer in this intimate format reserved by the artist for what are widely regarded as the most profoundly personal and  intense portraits of the 20th century.  The record for a small scale triptych by Bacon is £23 million set at Sotheby’s in London in 2011 for his portrait of Lucian Freud.

    The rare lifetime depiction of Dyer, the man who was the love of Bacon’s life at the moment when they were most deeply involved, is full of the painterly exuberance that marks out Bacon as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century.  The work is a counterpoint to the black portraits of Dyer painted in the early 1970’s.  Their affair began in 1963. In the autumn of 1971 they travelled to Paris for the major Bacon retrospective at the Grand Palais. Barely 36 hours before the opening George Dyer was found dead from an overdose of sleeping pills in their hotel suite.   Grief stricken and haunted, Bacon continued to paint Dyer for a number of years.

    This museum quality work is in all likelihood the first painting for which Bacon used the legendary photographs by his friend John Deakin as the source material.  In early 1964 Bacon commissioned Deakin, a former Vogue photographer and a drinking pal,  to take photos of Dyer and other regulars at Soho’s Colony Room. These photographs had a huge influence on his portraits from then on. The painting, which has been in the same collection since 1970, comes to auction for the first time ever. 

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