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Bacon-Triptych(1)   Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne (1966)
By Francis Bacon
Oil on canvas
Estimated price:
£10-15 million

At the end of this month, Sotheby’s London will be offering an important painting by Francis Bacon. Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne is a portrait of Bacon’s great friend, muse and artistic contemporary.

Painted in 1966, the portrait marks the second great peak in
Bacon’s career. The triptych portrait demonstrates how the artist navigated the threshold of abstraction and figuration.

Bacon and Isabel Rawsthorne first met in 1949 when they were both preparing for their respective exhibitions at the Hanover Gallery, London. Rawsthorne was a charismatic and striking woman who was one of the great muses of the 20th century. As well as inspiring Bacon, she was mistress and model to André Derain, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti.

Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne signifies a turning point in Bacon’s career when he began depicting members of his Soho clique, moving away from the male-dominated paintings of the 1940s and 1950s. Rawsthorne played an important role in Bacon’s art, as not only was she the woman to whom he felt closest and who inspired the greatest number of his portrait canvases, but she was also instrumental in introducing Bacon to the Parisian avant-garde. Other portraits of Rawsthorne are in the collection of the Tate Gallery, London, the Pompidou Centre, Paris and the National Galerie, Berlin.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale will take place in London on June 26, 2013.

For further information, please visit www.sothebys.com

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 16, 2013.