Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne' (1966) and 'Head III' (1949) are to be exhibited in London this month, ahead of their auction as part of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction on June 26th.
It is fitting that these two Francis Bacon works be grouped together as their history originates from the same time period. 'Head III' was painted, and exhibited in the Hanover Gallery in 1949, and it is in preparing for this solo show at the Hanover Gallery that Francis Bacon came to be acquainted with Isabel Rawsthorne, who was also preparing for her own solo exhibition at the Gallery.
A muse and more to other artists including André Derain, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti, Isabel Rawsthorne radiates a heroic position amongst Bacon's portraits. She would become an important Paris connection for Bacon's career, and an intimate friend. A diary recovered from Bacon's studio claims the painting was completed in under two weeks between October 21st and November 4th 1966. Such information reinforces the idea that Bacon's work on this piece was one of considerable intense focus, culminating in painting and communicating his knowledge of his subjects magnetism. 'Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne' encapsulates the intimate relationship between Bacon and Rawsthorne, with Isabel's graceful, strong, handsome features applied with Bacon's signature shorthand.
Francis Bacon's 1949 Hanover Gallery show was his first one man exhibition. It featured six 'Head paintings' by Bacon, with 'Head III' the first irrefutable human likeness in Bacon's professional career. Another first for this piece is the full appearance of Bacon's obsessively quoted broken glasses, no doubt inspired by Eisenstein's 1925 film 'Battleship Potemkin'. The work was first owned by the notable Californian collector Wright S. Ludington (1900-1992) who made the purchased prior to the Hanover Gallery Show in November 1949. Since then the piece has been exhibited in a series of important Francis Bacon exhibitions. The subject in the piece is said by some to bear a likeness to Eric Hall, an early long term partner of Bacon's.
If you would like more incite into the pieces, please visit the following Sotheby's links: 'Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne' and 'Head III', then click on the 'Catalogue notes & Provenance tab'. The exhibition of these pieces takes place at Sotheby's 34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA, at the following days/times*:
Fri, 14 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Sat, 15 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sun, 16 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Mon, 17 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tue, 18 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wed, 19 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sat, 22 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sun, 23 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Mon, 24 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tue, 25 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wed, 26 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction
19:00, June 26th 2013
34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA, UK
+44 (0)20 7293 5891
Words ref: Sotheby's press release and websites, including lot catalogue notes and respective original sources.
*Please note days/times are subject to change, please contact Sotheby's for further information.