Head with Raised Arm (1955) was last exhibited in 1962 at the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna in Turin. It was bought by the current (unnamed) owner the following year, and has not been on public view since.
Its location was listed as ‘unknown’ in the most recent version of Bacon’s catalogue raisonné published last year by Martin Harrison, and it will now be available to view at several previews ahead of its sale on October 6 at Christie’s post-war and contemporary art evening auction.
The artwork belongs to a group of nine surviving paintings depicting the then incumbent, Pope Pius XII. Four of these are in museum collections. The artwork was illustrated in the first catalogue raisonné created by Ronald Alley with Bacon in 1964.