Bacon, Warhol sales to test health of global art market

Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:04pm EDT
 
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - A triptych by British post-war painter Francis Bacon and works by pop master Andy Warhol will provide a health test for the global art market when they go on sale in New York next month.

Auction house Christie's suspects Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" (1969) could break the artist's record price of $86 million when it goes on the block on November 12. Sotheby's is offering Warhol's "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)", 1963, the following day with an estimate of up to $80 million.

The two will provide a barometer for a market which has defied the malaise that dogged some of the world's biggest economies since a 2008 financial market crash.

Anders Petterson, the managing director of global art market analysis firm ArtTactic, told Reuters he would not be surprised to see those works reach their estimates, given early signs of an improving economy and the number of global billionaires.

"It doesn't feel like there are any dramatic clouds on the horizon," Petterson said. "I just look at the Forbes list of 2013 where you have more than 1,400 billionaires."

On show in the London offices of Christie's, Bacon's triptych depicts his friend and fellow British painter Lucian Freud on a chair with a view from each side and one face on.

Christie's head of European Post-War and Contemporary Art Francis Outred told Reuters the work warrants interest because it is one of the few Bacon triptychs outside of a museum and documents the relationship between two post-war British titans.

"This suddenly becomes a very important conversation between two masters," Outred said.   Continued...

 
A Sotheby's employee poses with Andy Warhol's artwork "Silver Car Crash" at Sotheby's auction house in London October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth