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Sunday 25 September 2016

Francis Bacon self-portrait fetches £24m at New York auction

Published 12/05/2016 | 02:26

Francis Bacon's Two Studies for a Self-Portrait is viewed at Sotheby's in New York (AP)
Francis Bacon's Two Studies for a Self-Portrait is viewed at Sotheby's in New York (AP)

A Francis Bacon double-panel self-portrait which had been in a private collection for decades has sold for about 35 million US dollars (£24 million) at a Sotheby's auction of contemporary art.

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Bacon's 1970 diptych, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait, had remained in the same collection for 46 years, having been acquired the year it was created.

The work has been exhibited only twice, at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971 and the Marlborough Fine Art Small Portrait Studies exhibition in London in 1993.

Bacon created two self-portraits using the double format. One sold last year at Sotheby's for 22.4 million dollars. The record for a Bacon work is 142.4 million dollars.

Other top lots among 44 artworks going under the gavel included Cy Twombly's Untitled (New York City), which sold for just under 36.7 million dollars (£25.4 million).

The 1968 work is the only composition from his celebrated Blackboard series which features blue loops on a grey background. It was acquired directly from the artist and has since remained in the same collection.

Sotheby's also offered another large-scale canvas by Twombly, this one created in 2004 in the last decade of his life. Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version V), which fetched 15.4 million dollars (£10.6 million), is executed in blood red swirls and is one of six paintings from his famous Bacchus series.

Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait (Fright Wig) - the pop artist's last self-portrait, made in 1986 just months before his death - sold for 7.7 million dollars (£5.3 million).

David Smith's painted steel sculpture, Zig 1, sold for 9.2 million dollars (£6.3 million), and Sam Francis's oil painting, Summer #1, 1957, fetched 11.8 million dollars (£8.1 million), a record auction price for the artist.

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