Francis Bacon’s Two Studies for Self-Portrait Diptych Estimated To Sell for $27 Million

Francis Bacon, Two Studies for Self-Portrait (1977). Photo: Sotheby's

Francis Bacon‘s Two Studies for Self-Portrait (1977) will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s London at the contemporary art evening auction on February 10, with a high estimate of £18 million ($27 million). The low estimate for the painting is £13 million ($19 million).

The painting is described by the auction house as “a profoundly intimate portrait, starkly evoking the artist’s inner turmoil,” and is one of only three rare diptychs painted following the death of Bacon’s partner and frequent subject George Dyer.

ArtLyst reports that it is the only one of the three to have previously been sold at auction. When it was last available at Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art sale in 1993, it was purchased by its current owner for £353,500 ($538,370).

Bacon’s market has appreciated greatly in the past decade and a half, with a small Bacon triptych selling for a stunning $45 million at Sotheby’s London this summer (see Small Francis Bacon Triptych Sells for $45 Million at Sotheby’s London). In 2013, Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) shattered records when it sold for $142.2 million at Christie’s, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

Bacon currently sits at number two on our list of the most expensive European artists at auction for 2014 (see Who Were the Most Expensive European Artists at Auction in 2014?).

Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s deputy chairman of Europe said of the portrait: “Of all the subjects he depicted, it is the self-portraits—painted with an almost obsessive intensity—that bring us closest to the artist. It’s this extraordinary intimacy and power, together with their rarity, that make Bacon’s self-portraits so irresistible to collectors.”


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