TWO self-portraits by Francis Bacon were bought for a total of £30million at a record-breaking auction held at Sotheby’s in London this week.
The Irish artist’s 1975 work Self-Portrait was snapped up for £15.3million at the Contemporary Art Auction on Tuesday, July 1, while 1980 triptych Three Studies for Self-Portrait fetched £14.7million at the evening sale.
The Bacon lots were sold in what became a particularly exciting night for art fans, which saw the London auctioneers realise more than £130million in sales - the highest total to date for an auction of contemporary art at their London headquarters.
But their star item was Andy Warhol’s landmark first ‘dollar’ painting, which was hand-painted in 1962 and sold for £20.9million on the night.
Later this year Sotheby’s will relaunch its dedicated Irish Art sales in the capital.
Their first event, which takes place on October 21, will be led by the Sir William Orpen piece Nude Girl Reading, which is expected to fetch between £300-500,000.
Arabella Bishop, Head of Sotheby’s Ireland, explained: “Sotheby’s was the first international auction house to hold sales of Irish art, in 1995. Over the last couple of years, interest has increased and we have seen new collectors, not only from Ireland but internationally, actively buying and bidding in this field. We anticipate that the market for Irish art will continue to gather pace and feel that the moment is right to re-launch an annual dedicated sale.”
Ahead of its first Irish auction in London in October, Sotheby’s will open new larger premises in Dublin’s Molesworth Street, not far from the company’s previous Irish address.
“We are thrilled to be opening our new 1,350 square-foot office in Dublin,” Ms Bishop added.
“This larger space, with excellent private viewing facilities, further cements our commitment to the Irish market.”