June 2014 | Nate Pedersen

Dahl, Bacon, and Freud

Francis Bacon's portrait of Lucian Freud, once owned by Roald Dahl, is heading to auction at Christie's in London next month, where it is expected to fetch upwards of £12m (roughly $20m). Dahl, a friend and admirer of Bacon, purchased the portrait for £2,280 in 1967 with the royalties he had earned from the success of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Dahl once owned five paintings by Bacon, however four were sold during Dahl's lifetime. Dahl left the Freud portrait to his family who are now selling the painting to further fund philanthropic work begun by Dahl.

Francis Outred of Christie's said of Bacon and Dahl, "Even though these two creative geniuses worked in different fields, they shared a keen sense of the macabre, which can be seen in both of their work: where Bacon used his rapid, impulsive brush marks to create an intimate and startlingly animated portrait, Dahl used his pen to create unforgettable stories that sear the imagination with provocative and affecting images."

Bacon painted the portrait of Freud in 1967 when Freud was in his mid-40s. Freud and Bacon were friends in their younger years before eventually falling out. Bacon painted one other portrait of Freud, a miniature, 16 years earlier in 1951, however that painting disappeared from Berlin in 1988 and has yet to re-surface.

[Image of Roald Dahl from Wikipedia]