Francis Bacon starts the break, his Portrait Study from Innocent X, shown at left, fetched $52.6m (£26.5m) at Sotheby’s in New York – almost double the previous high for a Bacon work.
The version I prefer is the Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953).
Click the thumbnail above to view a larger version. He did quite a few as I recall. Compare the two, you tell me.
Then a Mark Rothko beats the record again in the same night and grabs it for a price of $72.8m (£36.7m) for his 1950 work White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose).
I really can’t fathom why, Bacon in my mind is so far superior an artist. Perhaps because it was sold by philanthropist David Rockefeller, who bought it for less than $10,000 on the advice of Dorothy Miller, the first chief curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, in 1960, and kept it in his office since.
The Bacon also surfaced after 30yrs in a private collection, perhaps a reason the valuation was so high for a Bacon.
The most expensive painting ever sold on record is a 1948 work by Jackson Pollock when it changed hands for about $140m (£73m) in a private sale.