Two rare and newly discovered portraits painted by legendary Irish painter, Francis Bacon, will be up for auction at Sotheby’s in London. The expected price for these paintings are £30 million. These paintings, Self Portrait  and the triptych Three Studies for Self-Portraits, were sold directly from the Marlborough Fine Art soon after painted in 1975 & 1980. In 2007, a Bacon self portrait from the same private collection sold at £21.6 million, which is a record high for a self portrait artist. Another small Bacon triptych was previously sold for £29 million at Sotheby’s, London.


The Self Portrait, painted in 1975, was created at the height of Bacon’s career. This followed the suicide of his former lover, George Dyer, in 1971. The triptych “Three Studies” was painted when Bacon was reaching his 70s, and was haunted by the inevitability of death.

Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s senior international specialist in contemporary art, said about finding these portraits;  “(Art dealer) Marlborough Fine Art kept a photographic archive and so both of these paintings appeared in a book on Bacon’s self-portraits, but apart from being reproduced in books, they’ve not been seen. We knew of the existence of the paintings, but simply had no idea where they could be. The first time I saw these paintings, it was such a wonderful awakening. They’re both so luminous.”

These self-portraits will be auctioned at Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Sale on July 1st.


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