£35million expected to be paid for Francis Bacon's 1961 Pope painting

£35million expected to be paid for Francis Bacon's 1961 Pope painting

UP TO £35million is expected to be fetched when Francis Bacon’s Study for a Pope I goes up for auction next month.

The painting was completed in 1961, specifically for the Irish artist’s breakthrough exhibition at London’s Tate Gallery in 1962.

Kept for 40 years in a private collection owned by the late German photographer and playboy Gunter Sachs, who was formerly wed to Bridget Bardot, the piece fetched £5.8million when it first went under the hammer in London in 2005.

But due to the “meteoric rise” in the value of paintings by the Dublin artist witnessed in the past decade, experts at Sotheby’s believe it will command between £25million and £35million when offered to art-lovers at their Contemporary Art Sale in the capital on July 1.

“Bacon speaks to the soul; he captured what it means to be human like no other artist that came before or after,” Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist in Contemporary Art, explained.

“His portraits are sought by collectors from all corners of the globe because they express something universal, exploring the deepest psychological depths of the human mind.”

Elsewhere in the auction two self-portraits by Bacon, which were re-discovered in a European private collection earlier this year, are estimated to seal for £10-15million each.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction takes place at their London headquarters on July 1 from 7pm.