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Lot 2022
Francis Bacon, two important letters to Mr. Glimsher of Pace Gallery, each marked copy and dated respectively 8th March 1978 and 17th March 1978, from 7 Reece Mews, London. Both letters are hand-written and signed, 10" x 8". A third sheet of paper is included which has, in Bacon's hand, Mr. Glimsher's contact details in New York. It seems that Bacon felt that it was important for him to have an actual record of what he had written and so he slavishly copied them out in his own hand. It is these copies that were found in the archive and are in this lot. As the matter was quickly resolved at that time, we can assume that he decided that they were no longer important and could be discarded shortly afterwards, perhaps to draw a line under the matter. A third sheet of paper is included which has, in Bacon's hand, Mr. Glimsher's contact details in New York.
8th March 1978. "Dear Mr. Glimsher, thank you for your letter I have not made up my mind yet about what I am going to do so please do not announce (underlined twice) anything until I let you know, Yours sincerely, (signed) Francis Bacon". This letter was written in reply to Glimsher's offer in a letter to Bacon dated 4th March, which is now in The Hugh Lane Gallery archive in Dublin and which sets out the terms for his move to Pace.
17th March 1978. "Dear Mr. Glimsher, For the present time I have decided not to change my gallery in New York. (the not is underlined twice). Yours sincerely, (signed) Francis Bacon."
These letters are well known now because of their importance in a much later legal action between the Bacon estate and Marlborough Gallery. Lawyers for the estate initiated a case against the Marlborough Gallery after the death of the artist, alleging that the Gallery had defrauded him out of substantial sums of money. In the national press in November 2001 it was reported that a rival gallery had offered Bacon £50,000 (The Lane Gallery letter refers to $50,000 not pounds) a picture but that Bacon had refused the offer as it was alleged that he had been blackmailed by Marlborough in relation to access to foreign funds based in Switzerland. Mr. Glimsher of the Pace Gallery in New York, referring to the negotiations in March 1978, said in 2001 "When Francis Bacon informed Frank Lloyd he was leaving Marlborough for Pace, Frank Lloyd told Francis Bacon that if he left Marlborough Bacon would have problems accessing funds that Marlborough paid to Bacon in Switzerland. The Bacon estate had confirmed that exposure to Inland Revenue debts would have left Bacon financially unable to care for his sister who was seriously ill at the time. The sequence of events was that Marlborough claimed that provisional arrangements had been made between the Pace Gallery and Bacon in a letter of 4th March 1978". This copy letter clearly confirms an agreement but the second makes it very clear that there was to be no change. These two letters were publicised in the national press before the case was to come to trial which was set down for hearing in February 2002. The estate, however, announced that it had settled its litigation with Marlborough shortly before it was to be heard in court, both sides paying their own legal costs. At that time Mr. Gilbert Lloyd, head of the Marlborough Gallery, commented "We are pleased that the estate has finally accepted that the entire case is completely without foundation. The case was totally unsustainable. Contrary to the estate's claims no paintings are missing, no fraud took place and there was no attempt at blackmail. The result of the action is that the estate has needlessly wasted millions of pounds on legal costs."
Provenance: The Robertson Collection

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2022: Francis Bacon, two letters to Pace Gallery

Estimate £800 - £1,500Apr 24, 2007
Burnt Common Auction Rooms
London Road, Send,
Woking, Surrey, GU23 7LN
United Kingdom
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