Excitement over Francis Bacon, whose work fetched a record price last year, is set to hit fever pitch when another triptych is offered for auction next week.
Traditional sales at Christie's and Sotheby's launch in New York tomorrow and Thursday with modern and impressionist art expected to fetch US$1.9 billion, followed by ever-more-popular post-war contemporary the following week.
Christie's is forecasting total spring season sales of US$979 million, while Sotheby's is forecasting US$934.15 million, numbers that underscore the strength of the fine art market.
With greater numbers of buyers interested in works from the post-1945 era, attention again is turning to Bacon, whose Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards (1984) will be offered at Christie's on May 13 for an estimated US$75 million.
It is a portrait of Bacon's close friend and confidant from the mid-1970s until the artist's death in 1992. Edwards, who died in 2003, was the sole heir to Bacon's paintings and properties.
Another Bacon triptych, a painting composed of three panels or pieces, Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for US$142.4 million in New York last year, smashing the world record for the most expensive piece of art auctioned.
That outdid the US$119.9 million paid for Edvard Munch's The Scream in May 2012. In February, Bacon's Portrait of George Dyer Talking sold for US$70 million.