Although he was violent and had a sadistic streak and was a raging, Peter Lacy was the great love of Francis Bacon. And, now a 1962 portrait of Bacon’s love could fetch $40 million when goes on sale on 14 May 2013 in New York Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction. The oil on canvas “Study for a Portrait of P.L.” is considered one of Bacon’s most significant works and had not been seen in public since 1972. With an estimated price of $30 – 40 million, it will be shown in Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in London from 12 – 16 April and in New York beginning 3 May.
“We are incredibly excited about this sale,” said Barker, the auction house’s senior international specialist in contemporary art. “Not only because Francis Bacon is, commercially speaking, arguably the most enticing artist of the current time. But to have a painting of this importance and of an iconic figure in Bacon’s own personal life is a wonderfully poetic combination.”
The painting in blue, green and black depicts Lacy seated on a bench holding a glass of wine. Despite inspired by their fiery relationship, this painting is furthered tinged with poignant, as Bacon created it only a few months after Lacy’s alcohol-related death in 1962. The artist heard the sad news on the opening day of the 1962 Tate retrospective dedicated to him at the same time he was receiving telegrams of praise and congratulations. That was something eerily replicated in 1971 when he learned of the suicide of his next great love and muse, George Dyer, at the opening of his big show at the Grand Palais in Paris.
The record for a Bacon work sold at auction is $86.3 million, which was set at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008 for “Triptych, 1976,” a work based on Ancient Greek mythology and the legend of Prometheus.