The Irish Times are back full steam with ‘Art Porn’ and their Art & Antiques correspondent, Michael Parsons, was gushing in his praise of the two deceased Irish artists in his piece on RTE radio this morning. What’s brought on this latest media frenzy is the forthcoming sale on St.Patrick’s Day by Christies (London) of two paintings by ‘self-taught’ artist Tony O’Malley. It’s not the two nondescript paintings by O’Malley that have excited the media but the fact that they are painted on two halves of an unfinished canvas by Francis Bacon.
O’Malley’s paintings ‘Currach, Clare Island’ and ‘Evening Landscape, Tehidy Hospital’ are fairly standard daubs and carry a paltry estimate of £20,000 – £30,000, but put together and reversed and they become the Francis Bacon work which could sell for huge multiples of that figure. Another example of ‘art’ as an investment, and a triumph of hype over substance. Bacon’s awful, uncompleted sketch looks like a pregnant Charlie Haughey crossed with Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot aka super villain ‘The Penguin’, and not something that I would want about the place at any price! That said, it will probably sell for millions. Here’s the link to the auction in case any of you feel like sticking in a bid.