NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
A seminal work by abstract artist Mark Rothko fetched a huge $75.1 million Nov. 13 in New York, while a new record was set for a Jackson Pollock drip painting at what Sotheby’s said was the highest grossing auction in company history.
“No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)” is seen by critics as one of the finest examples of Rothko’s characteristic style, a seemingly simple, but arresting juxtaposition of blocks of color.
The work described by Sotheby’s as Rothko’s “seminal, large-scale masterpiece” was selected by the artist for his landmark 1954 solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago and had been in the same collection for 30 years before coming to market.
The winning bid, reached after a prolonged bidding battle in New York, was short of the record $86.9 million paid for Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow” at Christie’s in May. But it was far over the pre-sale $35-50 million estimate and highlighted an evening of exuberant spending.
Total sales from the auction reached $375,149,000.