A canvas titled 'Self-Portrait' by British artist Francis Bacon
London - Arab Today
Two self-portraits by Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon, never seen before in public, sold for £30 million at a London sale on Wednesday, months after being rediscovered in a private collection.
One of the portraits, painted in 1975, fetched £15.3 million ($24 million) while the other work, from 1980, went for £14.7 million when it went under the hammer at Sotheby's.
"These sublime self-portraits utterly embody the power and emotion of the very best of Bacon's celebrated small portrait heads," said the auction house.
"Fixed against two electrifying blue grounds, they exude conceptual brilliance and, above all, painterly genius.
"These magnificent works narrate the latter half of a most extraordinary decade for Francis Bacon."
They were acquired directly from Marlborough Fine Art, London, shortly after they were painted.
The 14-by-12 inch (35 by 30 centimetres) 1975 canvas was painted after the artist had spent long periods in Paris and was most likely painted from his studio in the Marais. It shows Bacon aged 65 wearing his mackintosh.
The other work was executed across three canvases and shows the artist aged 71, with eyes downcast.
Also at the sale, one of Andy Warhol's career-defining paintings of a dollar bill sold for £20.9 million.
"One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)", created in 1962, is the only painting from this body of work to have been painted entirely by hand.