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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Export ban for 'lost' Bacon art
Bacon's Study after Velasquez, 1950
The painting was twice withdrawn from exhibition
The export of a 1950 painting by Francis Bacon has been temporarily banned by the government in an attempt to find a buyer in the UK.

Bacon's 9.5m Study After Velasquez will be subject to the export ban until 27 July - with the possibility of an extension until 27 November.

The move has been made to give buyers time to meet the asking price.

Bacon believed the painting had been destroyed and it was only rediscovered after the artist's death in 1992.

Withdrawn from exhibition twice, Bacon sent the work to his art material supplier and later expressed regret at its loss.

The piece was based on the work of Spanish renaissance painter Velasquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1650.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport's Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art said Bacon's work had been recommended for temporary export ban because of its "outstanding aesthetic quality".

The government recently placed an export ban on The Burgomaster of Delft, by artist Jan Steen, which dates from around 1655 and owned by a family in Wales.

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