Rothko - Orange, Red, Yellow

Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961
Estimate: $35,000,000-45,000,000
Sold for $86,882,500

Rothko's "Orange, Red, Yellow" sells for $86,9 million

Mark Rothko's 'Orange, Red, Yellow' (1961) was sold for $86,9 million at Christie's auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art on May 8 2012; becoming the most expensive contemporary painting ever auctioned. Yves Klein's 'FC1 (Fire Color 1)' sold for $36,5 million.

May 9th, 2012, source: Christie’s / theartwolf

Mark Rothko’s "Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961" (estimate: $35,000,000 - 45,000,000), was described by Christie's as "the most important work by the artist on the market since "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)" sold for $72.8m in 2007". Although "Orange, Red, Yellow" has all you want from a Rothko, the "White Center" is a much better work.

The 1961 painting was the centerpiece of the Pincus Collection. As philanthropists, humanitarians, and art patrons, David Pincus and his wife Geraldine (Gerry), enjoyed a collection of Post War and Contemporary art since the early 60s. Another important work from the collection is Jackson Pollock’s "No. 28, 1951". Estimated at $20,000,000 - 30,000,000, the painting sold for a slightly disappointing $23,042,500. However, it was still a world auction record for Pollock.

The third superstar at the sale (not from the Pincus Collection) was Yves Klein's 'FC 1 (Fire-Color 1)'. Described by the auction house as "(Klein's) ultimate masterpiece" and as "one of the most important works of Post-War European art to come to the market", the impressive work sold for $36,482,500.

In addition, new world auction records were marked for Barnett Newman, Gerhard Richter and Alexander Calder.

Related content

Rothko, Bacon sets records at Contemporary Art at Sotheby's (news, May 2007)

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