UK Auctioneer To Sell Francis Bacon 'Screaming Pope' Paintings Canvases cut from "Screaming Pope" paintings by Francis Bacon have emerged and will be sold by the Surrey auctioneer who sold other but unidentified fragments of Bacon works for more than £1 million.
News-Antique.com - Feb 20,2013 - Canvases were cut up by aspiring painter
to practise his 'Sunday painting'
Ewbank's sale expected to raise £100,000-plus
Canvases cut from "Screaming Pope" paintings by Francis Bacon have emerged and will be sold by the Surrey auctioneer who sold other but unidentified fragments of Bacon works for more than £1 million.
Five canvases, all of which have been authenticated by the Francis Bacon Authentication Committee, will be sold by Surrey fine art auctioneers Ewbank's on March 20. They are estimated conservatively to fetch around £100,000. A sixth canvas from the same source as the others, having recently returned from America so not examined by the committee, is estimated at £5,000-10,000.
All six canvases originated from the studio of Lewis Todd from Cambridge, who as an aspiring painter, had cut them up and used them for his own paintings, which he later sold to visitors and collectors on the All Saints Craft Market and art exhibitions.
Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is known to have painted mainly on the unprimed reverse of canvases and was a ruthless critic and editor of his own work. Anything he was not satisfied with or thought too perfect he mutilated.
Lewis Todd, who died in 2006 aged 81, was well known as a caricature artist for the Cambridge Daily News, now the Cambridge Evening News. After the Second World War and short of funds, he was encouraged to take up painting in oils by John Kesterton, manager of the Heffer Gallery who gave him his first canvases free because they had only been used on the reverse by Bacon whom the gallery also supplied with materials, and perfectly suitable for painting on the front side,
The gifts were conditional upon Todd agreeing to cut up the canvases before making use of them for himself. It is not known how Bacon's used canvases came to be at the Heffer Gallery in the first place.
Said auctioneer Chris Ewbank: "Todd did as he was required and cut the canvases so he could practise on them. At the time Bacon was making his name and his significance as a one of the world's most outstanding contemporary artists had yet to be widely recognised. It is fantastic to think that these pictures were once part of a much larger painting of historical importance.
Astonishingly, among them and on the reverse of at least one of the original uncut canvases was one of Bacon's most celebrated and graphic "Screaming Pope" images. This series of paintings was inspired by Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, and said to be Bacon's way of expressing the horror of war and its aftermath.
Comparing the fragments to the famous Bacon painting hanging in the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa - "Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X" - the similarities are self-evident. Last November, Francis Bacon's "Untitled (Pope) 1954", depicting a shrieking pontiff, sold in a New York auction for a record £18.7 million.
Chris Ewbank added: "The discovery of these fragments of Bacon