Sotheby’s has announced that its forthcoming London Summer Contemporary Art Evening Auction will be led by “Crouching Nude”, an important canvas by the seminal British Artist Francis Bacon. The painting has never been offered at auction before and should realize at least £10 – 15 million . The oil on canvas was created in 1961 and is one of Bacon’s large-scale works, measuring 198cm by 145cm.
Bacon worked from clippings and photographs of faces and bodies. He developed his unique style which distorts the human form and reduces it to whithering and often base piles of flesh.
The painting was displayed in his 1962 retrospective, a show which helped establish Bacon’s pre-eminence among contemporary British painters. Crouching Nude sits in the highest tier of professional achievement of the artist’s formidable output. It is a stunning example of his mature work.
The painting has an excellent provenance, having been featured in the 90-work traveling exhibition which opened at the Tate Gallery in May 1962. It was described by contemporary critics as “One of the artist’s most recent and striking paintings”. This exhibition is said to have launched Bacon’s career.
The Bacon market has recently been on the increase. His 1964 triptych, “Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud,” reached 23 million pounds at Sotheby’s in London on Feb. 10 this year. in May 2008 Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abromivitch paid $86.3 million for a Bacon 1976 “Triptych,” at Sotheby’s New York. The appearance of this work on the market follows Sotheby’s success with the Artist’s works recently at auction. The figure in this work appears to crouch in a distorted pose. It is a highly complex form, which depicts the isolation of the subjects psychological state. It is painted on a tonal matte green background which makes her appear to be sitting on a stage.
Bacon’s unique existential vision presents this animated nude as an ultimately and other-worldly being. It is altogether an uncomfortable work.
The sale takes place on Wednesday June 29