Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue) is a major highlight at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in New York on May 12. Dating from 1954, the year he created a number of his most celebrated canvasses, the distinguished provenance includes the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. The work is over eight feet tall and is estimated at $40-60 million. No less than seven of the 20 paintings Rothko created in 1954 are in the permanent collections of prominent museums around the world.
Meantime a major painting from Van Gogh’s Arles period will highlight Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 5. L’allée des Alyscamps marks a moment of fantastic creative output for Van Gogh. It was painted in 1888 when Van Gogh was at the height of his powers and working easel-by-easel with his artistic sparring partner Paul Gauguin. Many of his greatest masterpieces, including Sunflowers, Self-Portrait, L’Arlesienne and the Night Café, date from that same year. November 1888 also marks a famous turning point in the artist’s personal life: just one month after this work was completed, violent disagreements with his erstwhile treasured friend Gauguin culminated in the famous slicing off of his ear. Soon after, he admitted himself to the the asylum in Saint-Remy. He died two years later, just as Gauguin was leaving for Tahiti. L’allée des Alyscamps is estimated in excess of $40 million.
Sotheby’s New York sales will include six works by Claude Monet, Roy Lichtenstein’s The Ring (Engagement), a 1948 depiction of Francoise Gilot by Picasso, Matisse’s Anemones et Grenades and important works by Richter, Polke, Giacometti, Miro, Leger, Warhol and Pollock.