SOTHEBYíS NEW YORK TO FEATURE FRANCIS BACONíS TRIPTYCH, 1976 IN MAY SALE OF CONTEMPORARY ART On the evening of May 14, 2008, Sothebyís sale of Contemporary Art in New York will feature a masterpiece of the 20th century, Francis Baconís Triptych, 1976, the most important work by the artist.
News-Antique.com - Mar 26,2008 - THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK BY THE ARTIST IN PRIVATE HANDS
ESTIMATED TO BRING IN THE REGION
OF $70 MILLION
New York, New York Ė On the evening of May 14, 2008, Sothebyís sale of Contemporary Art in New York will feature a masterpiece of the 20th century, Francis Baconís Triptych, 1976, the most important work by the artist in private hands. A masterwork of the first order, the potent concentration of imagery in Triptych, 1976, provokes a wide range of possible interpretations in a painting which matches the tragic grandeur of Aeschylus. Triptych, 1976, was the centrepiece of the artistís most important show of new work of the 1970s, held at the Galerie Claude Bernard in Paris in 1977, which closely documented Baconís unease and restless mind during that time. One of only three large-format triptychs in the Bernard
exhibition, it was illustrated on the cover of the catalogue. Acquired by the present owner at that time, it has been included in all the major surveys of the artistís work to date, including the Tate Gallery, London, in 1985; Museo díArte Moderna, Lugano, in 1993; and the Musťe National díArt Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 1996. In the catalogue from the Museo díArte Moderna exhibition, Francis Bacon, 1993, Michael Peppiatt says, ďTriptych, 1976, surely ranks among the greatest of Baconís paintingsĒ (p. 106). The work is being offered from a Private European Collection and is estimated to bring in the region of $70 million*.
Tobias Meyer, Sothebyís Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, said: ďThis is undoubtedly the most important Bacon in private hands. It has been with the same collection ever since it was acquired from the Bernard show over thirty years ago, and it is a masterpiece of the 20th century. The world has been waiting for a great triptych, and this is it.Ē
Dense with symbolism, the three panels in Triptych, 1976, are filled with a complex, highly charged allegory and supreme paint-handling which shows Baconís imagination at its highest pitch. While living and working in Paris, Bacon produced one of his most powerful paintings on the subject and a masterpiece within his oeuvre. This was the climax of one of the most sustained and productive periods in his career, following the incredible success of his 1971 retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris.
In Triptych, 1976, Bacon draws on Ancient Greek mythology to express his personal tragedy. In the central panel Bacon alludes to the legend of Prometheus, who as a punishment from Zeus is bound to a rock where his liver is perpetually devoured by an eagle. It is also a modern day interpretation of Aeschylusí famous trilogy The Orestia. To avenge the death of his father at the hands of his mother, Orestes commits matricide and is plagued by the three Furies, the manifestation of guilt. Here, in the central panel, the human form is plagued by three hybrid biomorphic vultures, symbolic of Baconís inner demons. At the zenith of his mature career, Bacon