Sotheby’s London to Offer Rare Francis Bacon Double Self-Portrait

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Sotheby’s London to Offer Rare Francis Bacon Double Self-Portrait

"People have been dying around me like flies and I've had nobody else to paint but myself… I loathe my own face. One of the nicest things that Cocteau said was ‘Each day in the mirror I watch death at work.’ This is what one does to oneself.” Francis Bacon, 1975

Sotheby’s London to Offer Rare Francis Bacon Double Self-Portrait

"People have been dying around me like flies and I've had nobody else to paint but myself… I loathe my own face. One of the nicest things that Cocteau said was ‘Each day in the mirror I watch death at work.’ This is what one does to oneself.” Francis Bacon1975

Francis Bacon’s (1909-1992) haunting self-portraits have become inseparable from how we remember the turbulent life of one of the great painters of the 20th-Century. On 10 February 2015, as part of its flagship auction of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s London will offer Bacon’s  hugely rare Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1977, (est. £13-18m) one of only three self-portraits in this dual format to have been painted by the artist. 

In the years that followed the tragic suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971, Bacon’s work became increasingly concerned with the dark psychological depths of his own psyche.  Painted in 1977, on an almost 1:1 scale, Two Studies for Self-Portrait is a profoundly intimate portrait, starkly evoking the artist’s inner turmoil at a moment when he was at the height of critical acclaim during his lifetime.

Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman, Europe, said: "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."

Image: Francis Bacon, Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1977, oil on canvas, courtesy Sotheby’s.

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Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995.  Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

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