Francis Bacon Painting Sale

Did you read CBC News today? Things like this just makes me sad. A painting by Francis Bacon or any other artist of $40 million is only worth $40 million if someone is willing to pay $40 million. Such is the nature of an art auction.

It would seem reasonable for Christie to offer to keep its commitment by simply offer to re-auction the ‘Study For a Self Portrait’, 1964, till the painting sells at that price. But the actual sale of this Francis Bacon painting for that price might be a decade away.

As Bacon’s self portraits are widely regarded as some of his most important works and have been called ‘amongst the greatest self-portraits in the history of art’, I’m sure this artwork will help lead the art market out of its current slump.

CBC News reported:

Christie’s sued over $40M guarantee for Francis Bacon painting
Francis Bacon Paintings

A Florida art collector is suing auction house Christie’s International in New York City, for reneging on a deal to give him the minimum price guarantee of $40 million US for a self-portrait by Irish painter Francis Bacon.

George Weiss filed a lawsuit Friday in a Manhattan federal court for breach of contract and is seeking damages to be determined at trial.

Weiss says Christie’s owes him at least $40 million for his 1964 Study For a Self Portrait by Bacon, which had failed to sell at the November 2008 auction. The bidding topped off at about $27 million.

“For years, the major auction houses, including Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have offered guaranteed price arrangements for select works in order to bring major pieces to market,” Weiss said in the complaint.

“Christie’s reneged upon the minimum price guarantee.”

Documents indicate Weiss was courted last summer by Christie’s and its rival Sotheby’s. In September, Weiss chose Christie’s.

In the same month, the auction house told Weiss it couldn’t fulfil the minimum-bid guarantee, citing “the changed climate of the art market.”

Prices for works of art have tumbled in light of the world economic crisis.

Market for Art by Francis Bacon

Prior to that, the market for Bacon’s works was hot. A 1978 Bacon self-portrait sold for more than $42 million US in London in June 2007, while a 1976 triptych was sold for $86 million in May 2008.

Bacon died in Madrid in 1992.”

Francis Bacon – What’s Next

A complete biography of Francis Bacon will be published soon at

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