Self-Portrait by Andy Warhol sold in London at the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sale on Feb. 16 for £10.8 million ($17.4 milion), double the presale high estimate. The canvas painting which dates from 1967 is a red square six-foot acrylic and silkscreen piece showing Warhol staring thoughtfully at the viewer, two fingers covering his mouth.
The painting, that has never been exhibited, reproduced, or even listed in the exhaustive catalogue raisonne of complete works by the artist, is part of a famous series of self-portraits that began in 1965 in a small, 22in-square format. Screen-printed on to canvas with different combinations of colours, more than 40 were produced in this size, all taken from the same photograph in which the artist is holding his hand up to his mouth in a gesture of thoughtfulness. But, in 1967, in an act of growing confidence, Warhol expanded the image into an imposing 6ft-square format.
This piece had been in a private collection since 1974. Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, said that the work represents Warhol at the peak of his creative powers. Christie’s says the portrait was bought by an anonymous bidder in its London auction room Wednesday.