A Francis Bacon
triptych painted in 1976 is expected to fetch about $70 million in the star sale of Sotheby's Contemporary Art auction in New York on May 14. If the work, billed as the most important privately-held Bacon extant, does max out despite all the hand-wringing
going on, the price will eclipse Impressionist claptrap like this $40 million Monet
while still falling far short of some puffed-up Picassos. (The middle panel is pictured here; see the image gallery for the complete piece.) Back in February, a Bacon triptych sold for $46.1
million at Christie's in London, slightly below estimate, though the one currently on offer is the better work in our opinion.
Also included in the stunning sale is Mark Rothko
's 1956 Orange, Red, Yellow
, expected to fetch in excess of $35 million; Jean-Michel Basquiat's beautiful Untitled (Prophet I)
, est. $9 - $12 million; Robert Rauschenberg's 1963 Overdrive
, est. $10 - $15 million; Richard Prince
's Millionaire Nurse
, est. $3.5 - $4.5 million; a 1986 Andy Warhol self-portrait, est. $2 - $3 million; an untitled Cy Twombly
, est. $1.5 - $2 million; and a very naughty manga
-inspired sculpture by Louis Vuitton collaborator Takashi Murakami
, valued at an astonishing $3 - $4 million.