Police in Spain have announced that they’ve recovered three of five paintings by the British artist Francis Bacon stolen from a Madrid apartment in 2015. Details were not given because of the ongoing investigation to find the remaining two artworks. Thieves also removed a safe that contained a valuable collection of coins and jewelry. Law enforcement agents were led to another suspect who they believe carried out the robbery. This person led police to an art dealer and his son who are suspected of hiding the stolen paintings. The thieves tried to sell the paintings on two occasions.
“I can confirm that three paintings have been recovered,” a police spokeswoman stated.
The professional robbers stole the five paintings worth an estimated £30 million by disabling the alarm system. The home was surveyed to make sure no one was to return to the premises. The works belonging to a close friend of Bacon were a mix of portraits and landscapes. They were taken during the summer while the property was empty.
In May 2016, with the help of a British firm that searches for stolen art, they arrested one of the suspected perpetrators, as well as five accomplices that allegedly helped hide the paintings.
Art specialist said the paintings would be extremely difficult to sell. “It is not at all easy to sell a Francis Bacon, large or small without that getting to the ears of those who pore over such a rarified sector,” said the expert, speaking on condition of anonymity. El Pais newspaper said police from specialist art and antiques unit had opened an investigation into the heist. Bacon visited Madrid, where he spent time studying paintings in the Prado Museum. He died in the city in 1992, aged 82.
“Three Studies of Lucien Freud” a triptych by Bacon realised $142,405,000 at auction, a world record for the artist. Art market analysts place Bacon as one of 10 most valuable modern artists alongside Picasso and Warhol these works comprise 18 percent of global art market sales.