Bacon canvas sets a record

‘Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror’ by Francis Bacon which made $44,882,500 at Sotheby’s New York last Thursday.

Francis Bacon’s 1976 painting, Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror sold for $44,882,500 at Sotheby’s in New York this week. The work depicts a man who bears a resemblance to the artist’s lover George Dyer, who killed himself on the eve of Bacon’s important retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, in October 1971. The distinctive sweep of black hair resembles Bacon, and thus can be interpreted as representing both artist and lover.

Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror was included in the 1977 exhibition at Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, where it was shown alongside his Triptych painting, which holds the record price paid ($86.3million) for any work of Contemporary Art at auction. Five bidders chased the work, which was bought by Sotheby’s executive Charles Moffett on behalf of a mystery client. Mr Moffett also bought The Scream by Edvard Munch for a new world art auction record of $119,922,500 at Sotheby’s in New York last week.

The sale made a total of $266,591,000. Roy Lichtenstein’s Sleeping Girl was the other top lot, also selling for $44,882,500. Sotheby’s say the global demand for masterpieces right now is almost unparalleled.

A letter on Dáil Eireann notepaper signed by Michael Collins will feature at the sale at Limerick Auction Rooms at 12.30pm next Wednesday (May 16). Dated Aug 15, 1921, it was sent to Mrs. George Clancy at 4 Florence Terrace in Bray.

Mrs. Clancy was the widow Limerick Mayor George Clancy, who was murdered in March of 1921.

The typewritten, signed note on paper headed Dáil Eireann, Department of Finance, Dublin reads: ‘Dear Mrs. Clancy, I have accidentally learned of your address in Bray, and I hope this will reach you in time to enable you to come to the Dáil Meeting tomorrow. With sincere good wishes, yours, Michael Collins.’ The letter is among more than 400 lots on offer.

There is furniture, jewellery including a 10 carat diamond bracelet, stamps, coins and collectibles.


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