Some of the most important names in contemporary art will feature in a hotly-anticipated Sotheby's auction later this month, at which a study by Francis Bacon will headline.
The June Evening Auction of Contemporary Art sale takes place in London on the 26th, and will also offer collectors the chance to acquire work from the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Damien Hirst and Gerhard Richter.
With Sotheby's still celebrating the exceptional results from the recent Gunter Sachs Collection - which doubled its estimate to achieve an impressive $65.5 million - expectations for the upcoming auction are high. The bullish art market, combined with some of the strongest "blue chip" names in the contemporary art world, should see the sale bring results in excess of £50m.
"The results achieved for both our Spring sale of Contemporary art in New York and the Gunter Sachs Collection in London bring Sotheby's 2012 global total for sales of Contemporary art to almost half a billion US dollars, underlining the global buoyancy of this area of the art market," said Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby's chairman of Contemporary Art Europe. "We continue to witness intense demand for rare, important and fresh-to-market artworks by blue-chip artists, as well as provenance, and this June we have continued to tailor the sales to the collecting tastes of our clients."
Headlining the sale is Francis Bacon's Study for Self-Portrait, painted in 1980 and regarded as one of the most dramatic self-portraits of his career. Having previously been part of the renowned Stanley Seeger Collection, the intimate work will appear with a pre-sale estimate of £5m-7m.
This will be joined by the outstanding Jean-Michel Basquiat work Warrior (1982), also valued at £5m-7m, the iconic Roy Lichtenstein pop-art masterpiece Girl in Mirror valued at £2.2m-2.8m, and two works by Gerhard Richter - Jerusalem and Untitled (835-1).
The value of Richter's work has skyrocketed in recent years, making him the world's top-selling living artist at auction in 2011, with sales of more than $200m.
Earlier this year a Sotheby's sale in London saw three of his works bring a combined total of more than £13m - and the demand for his paintings among contemporary art collectors shows no sign of decreasing. Jerusalem will be offered with an estimated value of £3m-5m, with Untitled (835-1) expected to sell for £2.5m-3.5m.
We'll bring you the results of the sale later this month, but readers looking to stay one step ahead of the international art market can sign up for our regular newsletter here.
And for collectors looking to invest in their own works of art, you can find our current stock list of art and photography for sale here.