Christie’s sale sees Tony O’Malley bring home Francis Bacon

Des O’Sullivan reports on a split canvas holding a nude by Francis Bacon. 

Christie’s sale sees Tony O’Malley bring home Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon added considerable value to Tony O’Malley’s art at Christie’s in London last week.

When a lost unfinished nude by Bacon surfaced on the back of two works by O’Malley, Christie’s offered it as one lot with an estimate of £20,000-30,000 (€25,330-€37,990).

Given that Bacon is up there with the most expensive artists in the world, this turned out to be extremely conservative.

The lot sold for a whopping £434,000. It came about because Bacon had left the unfinished canvas at St Ives in the late 1950s following an argument with his partner.

O’Malley subsequently divided it in two and went on to paint two scenes on the other side, Currach, Clare Island, and Evening Landscape, Tehidy Hospital.

The paintings went their separate ways, to the collections of the O’Malley and the Fallon families.

A rare optimistic self portrait by Bacon comes up at Sotheby’s in New York on May 11. Two Studies for a Self Portrait is a positive work painted by an elated Bacon in 1970 on the cusp of his career-defining retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971.

He was only the second living artist, after Picasso, to be afforded this honour. At the time Bacon was in the throes of a failing relationship with George Dyer.

Dyer’s suicide a year later haunted Bacon and shaped his art for decades to come. This work is estimated at $22-30m (€19.6-€26.7m).

More in this section


Send a special message, and a
festive Irish Examiner eCard, to the people you love this Christmas. 


Send Here


In the Kitchen with

ieFoodLogo   Video Series

Join Darina Allen for Stir It Up Sunday and cook along with her as she makes her mother’s plum pudding recipe. She also makes Mrs Hanrahan’s sauce - a recipe that is so delicious that Darina says people ask for more plum pudding just so they can have more sauce!

Join Darina Allen as she makes her mother's plum pudding with Mrs Hanrahan's sauce.

Watch Here
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up