Francis Bacon’s triptych ‘Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground)', 1964, is to be displayed in London for the first time in 20 years by Sotheby's, ahead of its sale at their Contemporary Art Evening Auction. Having remained in the same collection since 1970 the small scale triptych has rarely been seen. It will be exhibited in Sotheby’s London galleries from Friday 27th until noon on Monday 30th June, prior to its auction on the evening of the 30th. Interestingly, despite 129 photograph's of Dyer found in Bacon's Studio after the Bacon's death, this triptych is known as one of only five of Dyer painted in this small scale. Speculation on the smaller size has been interpreted by some as an intimate gesture by the painter, with Dyer considered to be the love of Bacon's life. Sotheby's believe ‘Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground)' is thought to mark a significant point in Bacon's work, in that it is in all likelihood the first painting that Bacon painted using the photographs of John Deakin as source material. In early 1964, just months after he first met Dyer, Bacon commissioned Deakin – a former Vogue staff photographer and one of Bacon’s Soho drinking buddies – to take photographs of Dyer and other fellow habitués of Soho’s Colony Room. The photographs of Deakin became much used source material in Bacon's art.
“If I know them and have photographs of them, I find it easier to work than actually having their presence in the room. I think that, if I have the presence of the images there, I am not able to drift so freely as I am able to through the photographic image. This may just be my own neurotic sense but I find it less inhibiting to work from them through memory and their photographs than actually having them seated there before me.” (the artist cited in: David Sylvester, Interviews with Francis Bacon, London 1993, p.48).
For more information about Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction and exhibition dates and location, please visit Sotheby's auction website. Word ref: Sotheby's press release and website. Please note that all details including viewing times are subject to change, for all confirmation please contact Sotheby's.