Spanish Police Recover Stolen Francis Bacon Painting Valued at $5.4 Million

In Madrid, Spanish police have successfully recovered a stolen painting by Francis Bacon, originally taken in 2015. This artwork is one of five portraits depicting Spanish banker José Capelo, with the collection valued at €25 million ($27.1 million) in total. These pieces were part of what is considered the largest art theft in Spain’s history, occurring nine years ago.

By 2017, authorities had managed to retrieve three out of the five missing paintings. To date, 16 individuals have been apprehended in connection with the heist, including the alleged mastermind behind the theft. Efforts continue to recover the last missing painting and to arrest those in possession of it. The investigation is particularly focused on Spanish citizens connected to Eastern European organized crime networks, according to a statement from the Spanish police.

Francis Bacon, a pivotal figure in 20th-century art, has seen his works fetch astronomical prices at auction. Notably, his triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” (1969) was sold for over $142 million at Christie’s New York in 2013, setting a record at the time for the most expensive painting ever sold. More recently, Bacon’s “Portrait of George Dyer Crouching” (1966) was purchased for $27.7 million at a Sotheby’s New York auction last May