Stolen Francis Bacon Paintings Recovered by Spanish Police

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Spanish police have recovered three of five stolen Francis Bacon paintings taken from a Madrid apartment in 2015.

The five paintings, estimated to be worth more than €25m (£22.1m), were part of a collection owned by Jose Capelo, a close friend of Bacon’s who inherited a number of works after the artist’s death in 1992.

Mr Capelo was reportedly in London at the time of the raid.

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In May 2016, police arrested and bailed seven suspects over the thefts.

Three other people were arrested in January after police raided homes in Madrid and seized arms, safe-cracking manuals and oxy-fuel cylinders used for cutting metal.

Police did not comment on which works were recovered or how they were found.

Francis Bacon is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest recent painters, with some of his pictures achieving record amounts at auction.

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His expressionist-surrealist works are often raw and emotional – many referencing his experiences working for London’s civil defence during World War Two – and remain hugely sought after.

In November 2013, Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud became the world’s most expensive artwork sold at auction, when it fetched $142.4m (£109.25) at Christie’s in New York.

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It was succeeded in 2015 with the sale of Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Algers, which went for $179m (£137.3m) after fees.

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