Sotheby’s Will Offer a Bacon Pope


One of Francis Bacon’s iconic Pope paintings will appear at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale in New York on Nov. 13. Untitled (Pope), from circa 1954, is part of the artist’s series of screaming Popes painted in the wake of the Second World War. The painting has been in a private collection since a 1975 auction at Sotheby’s. Earlier this year, Bacon’s Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror (1977) sold for $44.9 million. Untitled (Pope) is expected to go for $18/25 million.

Referencing Velázquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X (1649), Bacon’s Pope series portrays the Supreme Pontiff violently afflicted by the terrors of World War II. This version from the series most closely resembles the artist’s Study After Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, now housed in the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa.

Untitled (Pope)
 is now on public exhibition for the first time in 40 years, at Sotheby’s Los Angeles and will be exhibited in London from Oct. 7 and Doha later this Fall. 


PHOTO: Francis Bacon, Untitled (Pope), ca. 1954