Fine Arts

When Bacon captured the spirit of a fellow titan

The legendary painter’s 1964 portrait of his friend and contemporary Lucian Freud goes on sale at Sotheby’s with a price tag of more than £35m

Photograph of Lucian Freud on a bed, which Francis Bacon used as source material for his 1964 portrait. Picture: John Deakin

Francis Bacon’s portrait of fellow artist Lucian Freud is a highlight of Sotheby’s British Art: The Jubilee Auction this month.

The pair met through fellow artist Graham Sutherland, and it is said they saw each other almost every day for 25 years until a series of petty rows ultimately splintered their relationship.

The full-length portrait, painted in 1964 at the height of Bacon’s career, is described in the catalogue as illuminating the powerful dialogue of ...