In an early phase Francis paints horrible old popes, idols in decay. When George becomes his symbol of handsome youth, he confronts him with himself and the pope. George's death reveals a posteriori to Francis that this young man of whom he had fun had indeed an existence. There is no doubt that Francis's mourning was terrible, deep and lasting.
Despite his ego Francis cannot stop the time. From 1976 he enters a process of re-interesting in old friends including Henrietta but he does not know how to accept and endure the aging of his own body.
On May 17 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 7 B Study for Portrait, oil on canvas 198 x 148 cm painted in 1977.
Francis had then ended his mourning : George is no longer a ghost but the idol of everlasting youth, sitting in underwear from the model of a photo taken in the first phase of their affair by John Deakin. His face is recognizable.
On a lilac surface in front of the idol, a dark form appears, ended by an accumulation of blood. It cannot be George's shadow because it is not consistent with any light. It is a flat selfie figure of Francis in his body that becomes disgusting. This identification is confirmed by the waste that surrounds it, marked by letters in dry transfer, which symbolizes the fabulous rubble in the artist's studio.
SOLD for $ 50M including premium