Page last updated at 09:46 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Auction fails to sell Bacon work

Man in Blue VI

A Francis Bacon painting, which had been expected to fetch a price of up to 6m, has failed to sell at an auction in London.

The 1954 artwork, called Man in Blue VI, was one of a series of seven paintings completed by the artist.

Bidders at Christie's auction house failed to reach the asking price and the piece has gone back to the vendor.

A Christie's spokesman said: "I don't think we can blame the credit crunch for the Bacon picture not selling."

Artist record

He added: "It was quite an academic piece. Collectors still have that liquidity in the market.

"There was a lot of interest in the painting in the run up to the sale and there has been immediately after."

He said the painting may now be sold privately.

Experts believe the work is unusual as it appears to be made from life rather than from a photograph, which was Bacon's usual method.

At a similar sale last year, a Bacon artwork sold for 26.3m.

In May a Bacon masterpiece broke the artist's record at auction after selling for $86.3m (43m) in New York.

The sale of Triptych (1976) beat the previous record of 27m paid for Study For Innocent X.

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