A self-portrait by Pablo Picasso that was created in 1901, and has not previously been exhibited in public before, will go on display in central London this week. The exhibition will include works by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and great British painter Francis Bacon. The self-portrait by Picasso depicts the Spanish artist and sculptor at the age of 30, looking directly at the viewer while painting by candlelight. The painting will be displayed alongside a 1969 self-portrait by Francis Bacon and works by Geoff Koons and Damien Hirst.
The ‘Self’ exhibition runs until 13 December at the Ordovas gallery, and features a number of works either not seen in public before – or for a considerable amount of time; including Francis Bacon’s self-portrait, which is one of the artist’s first studies of a single head. The work was one of many dark and insightful self-portraits that the artist painted throughout his career.
Bacon’s ‘heads’ also included his engagement with Velázquez’s great Portrait of Pope Innocent X (three ‘popes’ were painted in Monte Carlo in 1946 but were destroyed), and a number of portraits of the artist’s fateful lover; George Dyer who committed suicide on the opening of the artist’s retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1971. This particular head by Bacon has not been publicly exhibited in London for almost 50 years.
The exhibition also includes Hirst’s ‘With Dead Head’, a photograph of the British artist from 1992, posing with the head of a corpse. ‘With Dead Head’ is a photograph, actually dating from 1981; the image shows a teenage Hirst with a severed head, pictured in the Leeds anatomy school that the artist regularly visited to make life drawings and points to the Hirst’s own future Baconian journey, as the artist would go on to reference many of Francis Bacon’s paintings in his own installations, and vitrine-encased sculptures.
According to gallery owner Pilar Ordovas, it was Hirst himself who suggested the exhibition’s title, and that Jeff Koons also be invited to participate in the show.