A pair of gloves worn by Irish-born, British artist Francis Bacon, while painting one of the most expensive paintings in the world titled: Three Studies of Lucian Freud is to be offered in Chiswick auctions Fine Art sale on June 7th. The painting went on to be sold for £89 million in 2013 at Christie’s New York. The triptych of Bacon’s friend and artistic rival, Lucian Freud was painted at the Royal College of Art studios in 1969, which Bacon was renting due to a fire at his home.
Jan Leman, specialist in charge of the sale, said: “It is always thrilling to witness any tangible links to the great artists of our time and this is no exception. We have already seen great interest from art collectors and museums around the globe, who are keen to attain a keepsake and personal insight into one of the most celebrated British artists of our time.”
He not only painted one of the world’s most expensive paintings during his time at the studios, but gifted paintings in lieu of rent for the six months he was there (Study for Bullfight No1, which was given to the RCA and loaned back again for his retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Bacon also donated Man Turning on the Light, to benefit a new campus for the students of the Royal College of Art. It later went on to sell for £8.1m in 2007.
The gloves were found by Bateson Mason (1910-1977), when Bacon vacated the Royal College of Art’s studios. Bateson was a painter and teacher at the Royal College of Art from 1932-1935.
The gloves were gifted by Mason to the present owner, with a hand written note written after Mason had joined Francis Bacon and others for lunch at the RCA: “Wednesday. John Souvenir !! These Really ARE Francis Bacon’s Painting Gloves! He finished working at our place this morning and amongst the rubbish I actually found them!!! I felt sure they would appeal to you. Yrs. P.S. 2 left hands?”
The two left-handed cotton elasticated gloves show an accumulation of oil paint deposits used in the famous painting mentioned earlier; Three Studies of Lucian Freud, with evidence of brush wiping and incidental test mixing of pigment. The artist was actually right handed, but as part of his standard studio method, he would wear a glove on his left hand to clean his brush on, as he worked. The pair is estimated to fetch £5,000-£7,000.