‘George Dyer Crouching’: Francis Bacon portrait to be auctioned in New York

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Looking for something new to hang on your walls? Well, you’re in luck; an incredible full-scale portrait of George Dyer, painted by Francis Bacon in 1966, is set to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York this Spring.

The portrait, imaginatively titled Portrait of George Dyer Crouching, had previously hung in London’s Royal Academy of Arts, as part of the celebrated exhibition ‘Man & Beast’ back in 2022. Reportedly, it was a very important painting for Bacon, the first he had painted of his great love, George Dyer. In fact, it held such a special place for Bacon that he personally selected the work to feature in his first major retrospective in Paris in 1971. 

The oil painting was first shown in a Parisian solo exhibition in 1966 and has been sporadically featured in a handful of exhibitions since then. It was most notably shown at Francis Bacon’s 1971 retrospective, which opened only two days following the tragic death of George Dyer, which marked a move towards more sombre works for Bacon. 

Alas, nothing is sacred. After being on display to the public in 2022, the seminal work is now due to be auctioned off to the highest bidder in New York. The current owner acquired the painting in 1970, and since then, it has only been on public view a handful of times, so there is a chance that, with the sale, the public will get further chances to see the incredible work.

Sotheby’s estimate suggests the painting could go for up to $50million. A similar painting, Portrait Of George Dyer Talking, sold in London in 2014 for £42.2million. The two paintings have largely similar themes, of emotion and adoration set on a backdrop of dark, brooding imagery. 

Bacon’s portraits of his lover, Dyer, are among the most highly sought-after works by the figurative painter, though the auction estimate is certainly optimistic for a Bacon painting of this type. Nevertheless, Sotheby’s chairman, Olly Barker, has argued, “the re-introduction to market of a painting of this type of quality and rarity is a major market moment”, which is likely to bring some top bidders out of the woodwork. 

Featured in Sotheby’s May auction of contemporary artwork, the sale is hoping to give something of a boost to the art market, which has been struggling in recent years.

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