The recent “Post-war & Contemporary Art Evening Auction” at Christie’s in London resulted in some amazing sales including the successful sale of Francis Bacon’s painting titled: “Study for Head Of Lucian Freud“. It was sold for an £11,506,500 ($19,664,609)
From the lot’s note:
Having spent its entire life in the collection of Roald Dahl and subsequently in the collection of his estate, Study for Head of Lucian Freud, 1967 is one of only two single portrait heads that Francis Bacon executed of his friend and sometime rival, the chronicler of the human condition, Lucian Freud. The essence of Freud emerges from a sumptuously thick and complex surface comprised of lustrous undulations of crisp white titanium mixed with sweeps of emerald, all set against a velvety black void. His features appear and dissolve in the alternating sweeps of gestured paint, with flecks of vermilion articulating Freud’s existence all the more acutely. Darkly haloed by a thin trail of emerald tracing the outline of Freud’s crown, there is more than representation on display here – this is the individual presented as their very essence. It is this very quality that made Study for Head of Lucian Freud so compelling to Dahl, who was to acquire it in the same year as its execution. The work brings together three titans of the arts from the 20th century at the height of each of their artistic powers. Dahl, arguably the greatest children’s author of the 20th century, was first recognized in the 1960s for his uncanny ability to relate to children. His voice on the page was especially attuned to children’s ears and he was able to speak to them like no other adult has, or perhaps ever will. The last of four works, which Dahl acquired by Bacon during the 1960s, Study for Head of Lucian Freud was most certainly chosen for its extraordinary ability to capture the essence of Freud. Much like his masterful triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969, Study for Head of Lucian Freud is Bacon’s own raw and intense presentation of Freud. With each masterful sweep of his brush, Bacon has created an emblem to the legendary relationship, defend as much by the friendship as by the rivalry that existed between these two titans of 20th century art. Bacon has animated his friend’s visage, imbuing it with energy and attitude through impulsive, staccato dashes of colour. Conveying the intimacy of their relationship, Bacon succeeds in communicating a sense of Freud’s character, his inner resolve, pride and vitality in paint.