Bacon's triptych expected to fetch £35m

The most important Francis Bacon triptych to remain in private hands looks set to smash all records for the artist when it goes on sale at Sotheby's in New York for an estimated £35m.

Triptych, 1976, a masterpiece deemed by experts to be of museum quality, was painted more than three decades ago when Bacon was at the height of his powers.

Hailed as the Irish-born artist's most accomplished triptych, it is expected to exceed even the record for his work,£26.6m for Study from Innocent X last year.

Triptych, 1976, on view in London until 16 April, conveys Bacon's tormented outlook after the death of his lover, George Dyer, with other classical themes which preoccupied his work. It has been shown in every big retrospective of his work.

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