The Brooklyn Museum is hoping to bring in the bacon—by selling some of its own. The museum is deaccessioning a Francis Bacon painting from its collection, and it will be offered at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale on November 14th in New York. The work is expected to bring in between $6 million and $8 million.
The painting, titled Pope (ca. 1958), is one of only six surviving canvases from the British painter’s “Tangier Paintings” body of work; Bacon painted the series during visits to see his romantic partner Peter Lacy in Morocco in the 1950s, and he destroyed most of them after their relationship ended. This is the first time since 2008 that one of the “Tangier Paintings” has come to auction. In May, another of his paintings of a papal figure, Study for a Head (1952), surpassed its high estimate of $30 million to sell for $50.4 million at Sotheby’s in New York.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward supporting the Brooklyn Museum’s collection. According to the institution’s online collection database, it owns one other work by Bacon, a lithograph from 1984.
In a statement, Grégoire Billault of Sotheby’s contemporary art department in New York (and a former researcher for the Bacon estate) said:
Pope offers an exceedingly rare glimpse into Francis Bacon’s psychological state during a prolific but ultimately tortured time in his life and career. Tangier represented the artist’s first travels outside of Europe, and the promise of an open life with Peter Lacy. But their relationship proved volatile and violent, which found expression in Bacon’s anguished Popes of the period—of which precious few survive.