Unseen Andy Warhol self-portrait goes on sale

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The ace in Christie’s pack next month is an elusive Warhol self-portrait which has never been reproduced before.

Little-known masterpieces, unseen for generations, are stealing the headlines as the contents of next month’s contemporary art sales in London begin to unfold. Last week, the Telegraph announced that a Francis Bacon portrait triptych of Lucian Freud, hidden in a private collection for 45 years, was to lead the Sotheby’s sale. Today we can reveal that Christie’s ace in the pack is an important self-portrait by Andy Warhol, painted in 1967, that has never been exhibited, reproduced (until now), or even listed in the exhaustive catalogue raisonné of complete works by the artist. How it has remained undetected for so long and who owned it are mysteries that are yet to be unravelled.

The painting 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, like, as the critic David Bourdon has written, “a detached, elusive voyeur”....

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