Top performer at the February 6 event was Mark Rothko’s 1949 early abstract, No. 15, at an above-estimate £1.5m, but there was also intense competition for this Battleship Potemkin-inspired 1963 Francis Bacon (1909-1992) canvas right. Entitled Portrait of Man with Glasses IV, it was totally fresh to the market, having been a gift from the artist to the vendor. Measuring just 14 by 12in (36 x 30cm) and estimated at £300,000-400,000, it sold on the telephone at £810,000, the second highest price of the sale.
Bacon and Rothko works live up their reputations
Post-War sales at Christie’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) tend to be more predictable, less mercurial events than their cool contemporary outings and the established reputations of the artists invariably guarantee a procession of solid six-figure results.