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Posted on 2019-04-17 02:20:31 in EXHIBITION
Image: Francis Bacon's oil and sand on canvas painting: Study for a Head, 1952. Catalogue raisonné number 52-07.
Francis Bacon, Study for a Head, 1952. Oil and sand on canvas. CR no. 52–07. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London 2019. All rights reserved.

Sotheby’s are showcasing Study for a Head, 1952 in Los Angeles and New York*. The public viewings precede the painting’s inclusion in a Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 16 May 2019, where it will go under the hammer along with Bacon’s Study for Portrait, 1981.

Study for a Head has already travelled to Hong Kong and Paris courtesy of Sotheby’s. However, prior to this the painting has only been in one solo exhibition, which began in the UK in 2006 before travelling to the US:

  • ‘Francis Bacon in the 1950s’, Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, 26 September 2006 – 10 December 2006

  • ‘Francis Bacon in the 1950s’, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, 29 January 2007 –15 April 2007

  • ‘Francis Bacon in the 1950s’, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 5 May 2007 – 30 July 2007

In the Francis Bacon: Catalogue Rasisonné, 2016, Martin Harrison, FSA observes Bacon’s brushstrokes on Study for a Head:

‘The paint is more thickly applied than in most of the associated ‘series’ of heads, and Bacon added sand to create the rough texture of the right cheek; the mouth, which seems to have been the object of his special attention, is painted with great virtuosity.’

More information on the upcoming Sotheby’s exhibitions, including dates, times, and locations, can be found via the links below.

Highlights from Contemporary Art Evening Auction
16 – 17 April Los Angeles and 3 May – 16 May 2019 New York 

Word reference: Sotheby’s website and press release, The Estate of Francis Bacon website, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné, 2016.

Excerpt: Martin Harrison, FSA. Study for a Head, 1952, Catalogue Raisonné Volume II, pages p266–267.

*Please note the public exhibitions are not restricted but venue terms and conditions may apply. All details including dates, names, featured works, opening days/hours are subject to change. If you're planning a visit, we first recommend checking with Sotheby’s for all confirmations regarding this exhibition.


Francis bacon The estate of francis bacon Sotheby's Los angeles New york 2019 Study for a head 1952 Contemporary art evening auction Catalogue raisonné