How do you decorate a superyacht’s interior? If you’re anything like London-born billionaire Joe Lewis, you might start with the works of one of your country’s most famous painters.
Lewis’s 321-foot (98-meter) yacht, Aviva, has captivated the public since anchoring more than two weeks ago in the tourist-teeming docklands beside London’s Tower Bridge. While some passersby have asked who owns the vessel and ogled its gleaming exterior, those more familiar with Britain’s 20th century artists may have noticed what appears to be Francis Bacon’s “Triptych 1974 – 1977” hanging on its lower deck in golden frames.
“People put their art on yachts all the time, but usually it’s not their most valuable pieces,” Katja Zigerlig, vice president of art, wine and collectibles at insurance company Berkley One, said by phone. ”From a conservation standpoint, it’s not ideal,” and is akin to “taking your newborn on a safari trip to Africa.”
Lewis, 81, bought the work — Bacon’s last triptych focused on the loss of his lover George Dyer, who committed suicide in 1971 — a decade ago for 26.3 million pounds ($34.3 million). The piece is now worth about $70 million, according to a person with knowledge of the asset. The vessel it graces is estimated at $257 million, according to VesselsValue. Read more