The second most expensive painting of the Christie's sale on the 19th of October 2008, a realistic study of Francis Bacon's face done more than 50 years ago by Lucian Freud realized £5.42 million ($9,4 million), barely above the low estimate - but, again, a huge price.
It was the sale that saved the day because due to the economic crisis transactions were slim and became sticky. By the end of the sale, 27 percent of the works remained stranded. At the press conference held in a subdued atmosphere, a Sotheby's spokesperson revealed that the auction house had worked hard to persuade consignors to bring down their reserves.
The work is an oil and charcoal on canvas measuring 14 x 14in. (35.5 x 35.5cm.) and was painted in 1956-57. It was only natural that these two painters, in each other's company so much, would begin to feature in each other's pictures, Freud appearing in Bacon's oils for the first time in 1951 and Bacon appearing in three drawings by Freud executed in 1951, two paintings of 1952 and 1956-57 and a later drawing from 1970.
Bacon passed away in 1992 and Lucian Freud will celebrate his 86th birthday on the 8th of December.