Three Stolen Francis Bacon Paintings Recovered by Spanish Police

In 2015, five paintings by Francis Bacon (1908-1992) that estimated to be worth around €30m were stolen. The Spanish police have now recovered three of them.

Francis Bacon

The five paintings were part of the collection that belonged to José Capelo, one of Bacon’s close friends, who inherited the artworks after his death. In July 2005, while Capelo was away in London, five paintings and other valuables were stolen from his residence in Madrid by a group of burglars. It is believed to be the biggest theft of contemporary art in Spain.

One of the five paintings but it is not yet known whether the above one is among the recovered works

The Spanish police made 10 arrests over the years regarding the case but still got no leads to the missing works. Until a few days ago, a Spanish police statement said three paintings were recovered and revealed two fail attempts of burglars trying to sell the collection. However, location of the recovery and items recovered were not mentioned.

Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Elaine Wyn

After all, given Bacon’s worldwide fame, it is not easy to sell his paintings under the table. Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud was sold for US$142m with buyer’s premium at Christie’s New York in 2013 to Elaine Wyn (the ex-wife of Wynn Resorts Limited CEO Steve Wynn), breaking the record for the most expensive work sold at auction at that time. The triptych portrays British painter Lucian Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer

Bacon on the left and his lover Dyer on the right

Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer, the portrait of Bacon’s long-time lover and muse George Dyer. The triptych was sold for US$52.8m with buyer’s premium at Christie’s New York in May this year.