Bacon and Koons wow at art auction

  • 16 November 2007

Two paintings by Francis Bacon have sold for more than £34 million at Sotheby’s, in a record-breaking sale of contemporary and post-war art for the auction house.

The artist’s Self Portrait and his Study for Bullfight No 1 (second version) sold for £14.3 million and £19.9 million respectively.

Sotheby’s head of contemporary art, Tobias Meyer explained why the paintings were so popular.

‘Study for Bullfight No 1 is an extraordinary painting symbolising Bacon wrestling with artistic desire.

‘Here, he is battling the demons that occupy his violent subconscious, and in Self Portrait he struggles with these same issues of identity.

‘Both masterpieces explore the same conflicts but with different outcomes.’

The evening sale also saw US artist Jeff Koons outdo Damien Hirst as the highest selling living artist.

His Hanging Heart Sculpture sold for £11.4 million.

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