ARCHIVE: Unauthenticated Bacon works on sale in London

Herrick Gallery is marketing two pastels and eight drawings said to be by the Irish-born artist

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A London gallery is selling drawings said to be by Francis Bacon from a group rejected as fakes by the author of the new catalogue raisonné. The Herrick Gallery, in Piccadilly, is marketing ten works. Two large pastels are on sale for £795,000 each and eight drawings for a total of £1.2m. The London show runs until 21 May.

Alice Herrick, the owner of the gallery, believes the works are “by Bacon”, although she “cannot guarantee the authenticity of the drawings and pastels”. She says that around 600 drawings were given to Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino, an Italian lover of Bacon, from 1977 up until the artist’s death in 1992. The drawings she is selling are owned by Ravarino, but are in the “temporary custody” of David Edwards, the brother of Bacon’s long-term lover, the late John Edwards.

Most specialists believe that Bacon never made such large-scale finished drawings. Martin Harrison, the author of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Bacon paintings undertaken for the Francis Bacon Estate, rejects the Ravarino works. He told a Cambridge court in 2012 that six drawings he had been shown were “pastiches, or even parodies, and profoundly disrespectful of Bacon’s authentic body of work”.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Harrison said, “The works on exhibition at the Herrick Gallery have not been authenticated and do not appear in the forthcoming Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné, the official catalogue of Bacon’s oeuvre.”

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