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Francis Bacon

Sotheby's Newsflash: Bacon Self-Portrait Fetches $35 Million in NYC

Francis Bacon

Tonight’s Ongoing Sale of Contemporary Art in New York Opens with Francis Bacon’s Greatest Self-Portrait: TWO STUDIES FOR A SELF-PORTRAIT FROM 1970 FETCHES $34,970,000 Work Had Remained in the Same Private Collection since the Year It Was Painted 5 Bidders Compete for the Work

Francis Bacon, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait (1970)
Two Studies for a Self-Portrait by Francis Bacon comes to auction for the first time, having remained in the same private collection since soon after it was painted over forty-five years ago (estimate $22/30 million). Widely acknowledged as the finest self-portrayal Bacon ever produced, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait has been exhibited only twice before ‒ first at the acclaimed 1971 Grand Palais retrospective in Paris and then most recently at Marlborough Fine Art’s Small Portrait Studies exhibition in London in 1993. However, perhaps the work’s iconic status lies in the fact that it was chosen to adorn the cover of Milan Kundera and France Borel’s definitive book Francis Bacon: Portraits and Self-Portraits.

The Collection of Alexander H. Barr Jr.,
Founding Director of the Museum of Modern Art

Further highlights include two works that were given by Alexander Calder and Frank Stella to Alfred H. Barr Jr., the MoMA founding director who did so much to develop the careers of both artists, as well as the course of 20th Century Art History. In 1943, Barr gave Calder a major solo retrospective at MoMA and proceeded to acquire numerous pivotal works by the artist for the collection, including commissioning Calder in 1939 to create the large Lobster Trap and Fish Tail to inaugurate the main staircase of the new MoMA building. Untitled from 1942 is a stunningly rare example of Calder’s earliest mobiles that incorporated found chunks of colored glass representing his breathtaking ingenuity.

Frank Stella’s Untitled striped canvas perfectly encapsulates the artist’s early Benjamin Moore series, a group of six large paintings executed in six distinct patterns in various house paint colors that inspired a body of miniature variations (estimate $300/400,000). Barr gave Stella his first MoMA retrospective in 1970, making him the youngest artist to receive that honor, and this work is specifically dedicated to Barr in appreciation and thanks with a handwritten inscription on the reverse.

Sale Opener : Adrian Ghenie, Self-Portrait as Vincent Van Gogh (2012)
Lot 1 of tonight’s sale was led by Self-Portrait as Vincent Van Gogh by Adrian Ghenie, which merges the historical and the personal by fusing together one of the last self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, one of his childhood heroes, with his own visage. By doing so, Ghenie showcases himself as both an artist of a historical context and as a standalone individual. Acquired from Pace Gallery in New York, this oil painting was also exhibited at the 56th Biennale di Venezia: Romanian Pavilion from May-November 2015.

  • 12.05.2016
    Presse »
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus »

    Auction of Contemporary Art in New York on 11 May 2016, with an estimate of US$22-30 million.

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Die Fachjury des 3.artgrant Kunstpreises tagte am 27.11.

  • Francis Bacon, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait (1970
    Francis Bacon, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait (1970
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus