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Christie's to offer Francis Bacon's "Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards"
Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards. Oil on canvas. Each: 781/8 x 58¼in. (198.3 x 148cm.). Painted in 1984. Estimate in the region of $80 million. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.
NEW YORK, NY.- On the heels of the historical world record sale achieved for Three Studies of Lucian Freud at $142,405,000, Christie’s will offer Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, from 1984, as the highlight of the May 13th evening sale. Celebrating one of the most significant relationships in Francis Bacon’s life, this painting represents John Edwards, a bar manager from the East End of London, who Bacon had met a decade earlier and who went onto to become one of the artist’s inseparable companions, his most trusted confidents, and the rare witness to the artist at work. Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, embodies the sense of calm and confidence that came over Bacon work in the last decade of his life. Estimated in the region of $ 80 million, the triptych will be on view at Christie’s King Street before being at auction in New York on May 13th.

“We are honored to announce one of the greatest paintings from Francis Bacon’s acclaimed Late Period. Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, executed in 1984 was the centerpiece of the artist’s retrospective at the London Tate Gallery in 1985-86, and a work that the artist himself ranked amongst his best works. It shows an incredible tenderness and harmony that was prompted by Bacon’s paternal relationship with the sitter, and this period of contentment elicited a confidence of style that has been compared to late Matisse”, said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art.

John Edwards first met Francis Bacon in 1974 and became his companion until the artist's death in 1992. Edwards was from the East End of London and from the outset his relationship with Bacon differed fundamentally from that earlier relationship with his lover and muse, George Dyer. Edwards, however, was not destined to be swallowed and destroyed by the love of the great artist in the way that both Dyer and Dyer's predecessor, Peter Lacy had been. Indeed, Edwards is known to have stood up to Bacon and this forthright quality along with his honesty greatly endeared him to the artist. According to longtime friend Ian Board - the owner of the infamous Soho drinking club the Colony Room - Bacon was "riddled with love" for Edwards and became increasingly protective of him as an adoptive son.



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