Cash-strapped council is urged to sell ‘ugly’ £20million Francis Bacon painting and spend the money on building affordable housing
- Lib Dem councillor proposed selling Francis Bacon’s Lying Figure No 1 painting
- Artwork owned by Leicester City Council could be worth as much as £20million
- In May, a Francis Bacon painting sold at auction for more than £39m at Sotheby’s
A council is being urged to sell its ‘ugly’ Francis Bacon painting and spent the proceeds on affordable housing for residents.
The artist’s Lying Figure No 1 is owned by Leicester City Council and on display in the New Walk Museum as part of its collection of 5,400 artworks worth nearly £60million.
Liberal Democrat city councillor Nigel Porter has now urged the Labour city Mayor to consider auctioning the oil on canvas, which he claims could be worth up to £20million.
Francis Bacon’s Lying Figure No 1 is owned by Leicester City Council
Cllr Porter told a recent council meeting: ‘This Lying figure No 1 could be worth up to £20 million. Personally I don’t really like the picture. I don’t rate it.
‘I imagine not many people in Leicester would. I don’t like his colours and I don’t like what he does. If I was the city mayor I would certainly look to sell it.
‘If you could get £20 million for it that money could go into providing 100 or so affordable houses. This picture is incredibly valuable.
‘Could we have a public poll or consultation, at time when we are cash-strapped and people are desperate for housing that we consider selling this ugly painting off?
‘If we had a Henry Moore we should hold onto it. I wouldn’t propose flogging a Henry Moore off but the thing that concerns me about Francis Bacon is that his style is very particular and it can quite easily go out of fashion.’
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby told the meeting the canvas would not go up for sale.
Sir Peter said: ‘I’ll be frank. It’s not my favourite piece in there (the museum) – the wonderful de la Tour is – and I know our art collection quite well. And we can’t sell any of it.’
In May, a Francis Bacon painting considered one of his most important still privately owned sold at auction for more than £39 million at Sotheby’s.
Study For A Head (1952), from Bacon’s ‘screaming popes’ series, had been estimated to fetch between 20 to 30 million US dollars when it went under the hammer in New York. Instead it was sold for 50.4 million US dollars.
The artist’s Lying Figure No 1 is owned by Leicester City Council and is currently on display in the city’s New Walk Museum (pictured)
According to Sotheby’s, Study For A Head is Bacon confronting his disciplinarian father, who expelled him from the family home after catching him wearing his mother’s underwear
Born in Dublin, Ireland, to British parents, Bacon took up painting in his 20s and went on to become a world-leading artist and one of the most prominent of the 20th century.
According to Sotheby’s, Study For A Head is Bacon confronting his disciplinarian father, who expelled him from the family home after catching him wearing his mother’s underwear.
Bacon (pictured in 1984) was born in Dublin, Ireland and took up painting in his 20s before going on to become a world-leading artist and one of the most prominent of the 20th century. He died from a heart attack in 1992.