FrancisBacon

Spanish police make arrests over stolen Francis Bacon works

Seven people have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of involvement in the theft of five paintings by Francis Bacon, worth a total of £19m.

The paintings were stolen last July, along with other valuables belonging to the owner, who is reported to have been a close friend of Bacon. The works, which comprise portraits and landscapes, are yet to be recovered.

Detectives said they were approached in February by British private investigators specialising in the recovery of stolen artworks who had received an email with photographs of the paintings and asking whether they were listed as stolen. Investigators analysed the photo and were able to determine that the camera that took the images was owned by a photographic equipment rental company, which supplied details of the customer who had rented it at the time the paintings were photographed.

The customer, who is suspected of involvement in the crime, was among those arrested, along with a Madrid art dealer and his son.

New catalogue raisonné sheds light on Francis Bacon’s art and controversial life

The forthcoming Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné will offer an unprecedented view into his art—and his controversial private life. Bacon’s surviving oeuvre, totalling 584 paintings, is catalogued in 1,538 pages. Less than a third of the pictures are in museums, with most hidden away in anonymous private collections. Thanks to colour reproductions, some available for the first time, it is now possible to clearly see the development of Bacon’s art.

Although the catalogue will not be published until 30 June, it was launched in London’s Soho—the quarter where Bacon drank and felt at home. Martin Harrison, the editor, has devoted 10 years to the project. He travelled endlessly, failing to locate only one painting, Head with Raised Arms (1955), which was last recorded in Turin more than fifty years ago. The catalogue was funded by the Francis Bacon Estate and although the cost is not being disclosed, it probably amounted to several million pounds.

Robadas cinco obras de Francis Bacon en pleno centro de Madrid

Five paintings by Francis Bacon have been stolen from the private residence in Madrid of J. C. B., a Spanish friend of the legendary painter who inherited the artworks when Bacon died, in 1992. The five paintings have a combined worth of £23 million. According to El País, it’s the biggest contemporary art heist to have taken place in Spain in the last few decades.

The theft occurred in June 2015, when J. C. B. left his residence in the Plaza de la Encarnacion—an affluent area in the center of Madrid, near the Senate and the Royal Palace—for a few hours.

The heist has only been made public now for unspecified reasons, but an investigation has been unfolding ever since on both a national and international level, El País reports. The artworks, which are said to be of medium to small size, haven’t been found yet, but it is believed that they are still on Spanish soil.