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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Rescued Bacon art sells for 1m
Study for a portrait by Francis Bacon (The Robertson Collection)
This untitled study for a portrait sold for 470,000
A collection of paintings and other items artist Francis Bacon tried to throw away almost 30 years ago have sold for more than 1m at auction.

The 45 lots had been valued at 50,000 - but fetched 1.13m at the Ewbank auction rooms in Woking, Surrey.

A painting of a dog that was expected to sell for 3,000 eventually reached 305,000, while an untitled portrait went to a phone bidder for 470,000.

A friend was allowed to keep the pieces after Bacon tried to junk them in 1978.

An "incensed" Bacon wanted them all thrown out after they were disturbed by workmen at his famously chaotic London studio.

Mac Robertson, an electrical contractor who had become a friend and drinking partner of Bacon, rescued the items and stored them in an attic in Surrey.

"He filled three bin bags," the auction house's spokesman Chris Proudlove said.

Francis Bacon
The 15th anniversary of Francis Bacon's death is on Saturday
But the collection did not escape unscathed. Four mutilated portraits, which had the faces torn out of the canvas, were among the lots on sale. They raised a total of 119,725.

"Bacon was renowned for self-editing his work," Mr Proudlove said. "If he wasn't satisfied, he would cut out the parts he didn't like.

"Sometimes it would be a chin or an ear."

Other items on offer included cheque book stubs and a solicitor's letter.

A diary on sale included a poignant handwritten note about the suicide of Bacon's lover George Dyer in 1971, which simply reads: "George died in Paris." It sold for 2,350.

"This really was a unique sale and it has exceeded all our estimates," Mr Proudlove said.

"There have been few, if any, auctions of the kind of the material in this archive, so we had no precedence on which to base estimates."

The auction took place days before the 15th anniversary of Bacon's death on 28 April 1992.

Meanwhile, one of the artist's completed paintings, Study from Innocent X, could fetch more than $30m (15m) when it goes under the hammer in New York next month, according to auction house Sotheby's.


SEE ALSO
Rescued Bacon items to go on sale
21 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Bacon portrait breaks sale record
09 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
Francis Bacon work returns to UK
18 Jun 04 |  Entertainment
Export ban for 'lost' Bacon art
27 May 04 |  Entertainment

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