‘Pope’: Francis Bacon’s painting seeks new home

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'Pope' Francis Bacon. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

A Francis Bacon painting titled Pope, dated 1958, is being “deaccessioned” from The Brooklyn Museum. In plain English that means it is being sold and will be offered at a Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on November 14, 2019. Also going up in that week’s auction is Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge.

Pope is one of six surviving paintings – he destroyed the rest after a long-term relationship ended – from his renowned Tangier series, completed in the namesake Moroccan city. It is estimated to fetch between $6 million and $8 million.

Somewhat like the prospect of myriad name-based double entendre, Bacon’s Pope could be leaving The Brooklyn Museum for a number of reasons. The most obvious, however, is that the museum is selling it to buy more work or care for the collection.

It is also understood that museums are not immune from shaking up their collections, often for their programming to be more accessible to younger artists and initiatives.

Recently the Baltimore Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art have been in the news for parting with prominent works in order to raise funds to diversify their collections.

The Brooklyn Museum told Observer: “As part of ongoing collection review, we’ve chosen to sell this particular work and use the proceeds to more sharply focus on institutional collection priorities.