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    Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
    Mark Rothko – Untitled (signed and dated 1960) made $48 million

    The sale of 30 lots from the Macklowe Collection achieved $246.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York last night. When added to the results of the November auction the total comes to $922.2 million, making this the most valuable collection ever sold at auction. Highlights last night included Mark Rothko’s Untitled, which made $48 million, Gerhard Richter’s Seestuck (Seascape) which made $30.2 million, Andy Warhol’s Self Portrait which made $18.7 million, and Willem de Kooning’s Untitled which sold for $17.8 million.


    Sunday, October 18th, 2020

    Untitled (Black on Maroon) by Mark Rothko will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary evening art auction in New York on October 28. It dates to 1958 and preempts the artists celebrated Seagram Building Murals. These are now at the Tate in London. The sale will feature masterpieces by Clyfford Still and Brice Marden from the Baltimore Museum of Art.



    Friday, February 15th, 2019

    Mark Rothko – Untitled, 1960 UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $50.1 MILLION

    Untitled 1960 by Mark Rothko will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary evening art auction in New York next May.  Estimated at $35-50 million it is being sold to benefit SFMOMA’s acquisition fund.

    Untitled, 1960 is one of just 19 paintings completed by the artist in 1960.  That year marked a critical juncture in his career when he was at the apex of his artistic powers. It followed on from his defining commission of the Seagram Murals (1958-59) and his representation of the United States in the XXIX Venice Biennale in 1958.  This was organised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which would subsequently hold Rothko’s first and only major lifetime retrospective in 1961.

    Following a collection review, and working within the guidelines of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), proceeds from the sale of Untitled, 1960 will only be used to purchase works for the museum.  Neal Benezra, Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA, said: “With a spirit of experimentation, diversity of thought, and openness to new ways of telling stories, we are rethinking our exhibitions, collections, and education programs to enhance accessibility and expand our commitment to a global perspective, while sustaining our dedication to Bay Area and California art. Untitled, 1960 is being sold in order to broadly diversify SFMOMA’s collection, enhance its contemporary holdings, and address art historical gaps in order to continue to push boundaries and embrace fresh ideas.”

    Untitled, 1960 will travel to London, Taipei and Hong Kong, before returning to New York for exhibition and auction this May.


    Monday, October 29th, 2018
    Major works by some of the world’s most revered and expensive artists will come under the hammer at the big November art sales in New York. With work ranging from a major restituted masterpiece by Egon Schiele to a splash painting that promises to make David Hockney the world’s priciest living artist the sales of Impressionist and Modern and Contemporary and Post War art at Christie’s and Sotheby’s promise to create a splash of their very own.
    Schiele’s masterwork, City in Twilight, the small city II will highlight Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale on November 12. Painted in 1913 it was purchased in 1928 by a young Jewish widow living in Vienna, Elsa Koditschek. The work was forcibly sold under the Nazi regime and is now offered as the resolution of a private restitution between the present owners and Elsa’s heirs.
    David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures) at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary evening sale on November 15  is estimated in the region of $80 million and is poised to become the most expensive  work by a living artist ever sold at auction.
    Highlights from the Impressionist and Modern evening sale at Christie’s on November 11 range from Claude Monet’s Effet de neige at Giverny and one of 12 extant works of Le basin aux nympheas to Picasso’s Femme au beret orange et au col de fourrure (Marie-Therese).
    Along with Hockney there are  masterpieces by Pisarro, Rothko, Monet, Bacon and Rodin at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary evening sale on November 15.
    Sotheby’s say that their Impressionist and Modern sale on November 12 promises to be among the strongest and boldest in recent history. Works on offer range from a floral composition by Monet to a painterly canvas showcasing Maurice Vlaminck’s Fauve period and Miro’s monumental pastel Figure. Magritte’s painting of Edward James is one of the most important Surrealist portraits to appear at auction in decades and will feature with newly discovered works by Renoir, Morandi and Rembrandt Bugatti.

    The Contemporary Art evening sale at Sotheby’s on November 14 will offer works by Willem de Kooning, Frank Stella, Jeff Koons and many other leading contemporaries.

    Egon Schiele’s City in Twilight, the small city II is at Sotheby’s.  UPDATE: THIS MADE $24.6 million  

    David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures) at Christie’s  UPDATE:THIS MADE $90,312,500

    Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Rusts, Blacks on Plum) 1962 at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE $35,712,500

    Georgia O’Keeffe, Calla lilies on Red at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE $6.3 MILLION


    Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

    Groundbreaking works by Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg will feature at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening auction on March 7 in London. Mark Rothko’s groundbreaking No. 1 1949 is one of the earliest examples of his mature artistic vocabulary. Robert Rauschenberg’s Transom (1963) comes to auction alongside a major retrospective of his work at London’s Tate Modern, and demonstrates the radical new visual language that went on to lead a generation of American artists towards global domination. Together these two masters of 20th-Century painting will lead the field of American talent due to take centre stage during 20th Century at Christie’s, a series of sales from February 28 to March 10.   The works will tour to Hong Kong (January 17-20), Shanghai (February 8), Beijing (February 11-13) and New York (February 24-26).

    Francis Outred, Chairman and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christies: “America is a profound force on the global stage and has been unstoppable in defining the contemporary culture of the last century. It is a privilege to present two seminal works that date from the beginning of this cultural dominance. Mark Rothko’s No.1 dates from 1949 and was one of his first works to incorporate the planes of colour as mood that defined his career. Robert Rauschenberg’s Transom is one of the breakthrough series of Silkscreen Paintings with which he not only sparred with Warhol but also became the very first American artist to win the Golden Lion at the 1964 Venice Biennale.”


    Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

    Mark Rothko (1903-1970) No. 17 (c) 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2016

    Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
    No. 17 (c) 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016

    Mark Rothko’s pivotal 1957 canvas No. 17  will lead Christie’s evening sale of  Post-War & Contemporary Art in New York on May 10.  It is estimated at $30-40 million One of the artist’s rare “blue” canvases, this work belongs to a select group that marked the culmination of a short period during which he executed a number of brightly hued works.  This was just a few months before he embarked on the Seagram Murals which have been at the Tate Gallery, London since 1970, the year of Rothko’s suicide.

    It was featured in the 1961-1963 Rothko retrospective which championed the cause of Abstract Expressionism in Europe in a variety of different venues. The  first stop was the Whitechapel Gallery in London.  Afterwards it travelled to Amsterdam, Brussels, Basel, Rome before finishing at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in January 1963.

    After the retrospective No. 17 went into a private Italian collection and remained unseen by the public for the next several decades. In 2001 it was the central part of an exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler near Basel in Switzerland.  After that exhibition it went into another private collection, where it has remained until now.

    Brett Gorvy, International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, at Christie’s said: “No. 17, is a strikingly beautiful canvas that comes with an exhibition history that places it within the canon of Rothko’s most important paintings of the late 1950’s. We are particularly pleased to be presenting this work to the marketplace at a time when there is such tremendous demand for examples by Rothko of this remarkable quality. With its vibrant, enveloping surface, and its freshness to the auction market, we are confident that No. 17 will appeal to a broad global audience.”

    No. 17 is being sold on the heels of the tremendously successful sale of Rothko’s 1958 painting, No. 10, which realized $81,925,000 against a high estimate of $60 million at Christie’s New York, in May 2015. No. 10’s strength at auction demonstrated the tremendous demand for works of this quality by Rothko in the global marketplace, which continues to exist in full force today.


    Thursday, November 5th, 2015

    Modigliani, Portrait de Paulette Jourdain

    Modigliani, Portrait de Paulette Jourdain

    Masterworks from the Taubman collection brought in $377 million at Sotheby’s in New York last night. In its first appearance at auction Modigliani’s portrait of Paulette Jourdain made $42.8 million after five bidders from around the globe competed. It went to an Asian buyer. A total of twelve works achieved more than $10 million and Frank Stella’s Delaware Crossing more than doubled the previous auction record for the artist when it made $13.7 million.

    Willem de Koonings Untitled XXI sold for $24.9 million. A private European collector paid $20.4 million for Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Lavender and Green) and Femme assize sur une chaise by Pablo Picasso (a portrait of Dora Maar) made $20 million.  A selection of six works on paper by Egon Schiele sold for $13.5 million and all 14 sculptures were sold, with a combined total of $37.9 million.

    More than 400 works from the collection of the late A Alfred Taubman are to be sold across various auctions at Sotheby’s throughout 2016. (All images courtesy Sotheby’s).

    (See posts on for October 4 and September 7, 2014).

    Schiele, Freundin, Rosa-Blau

    Schiele, Freundin, Rosa-Blau

    Stella, Delaware Crossing

    Stella, Delaware Crossing

    de Kooning, Untitled XXI

    de Kooning, Untitled XXI

     Rothko, Untitled (Lavender and Green).

    Rothko, Untitled (Lavender and Green).


    Thursday, May 14th, 2015

    Mark Rothko - Number 10 sold for $81.9 million

    Mark Rothko – Number 10 sold for $81.9 million

    An $81 million Rothko and a record breaking Freud brought Christie’s to a benchmark in art auction history last night – the first $1 billion week for the art world.  The Post-War and Contemporary art sale in New York last evening made $658,532,000. The top lot of the sale was Rothko’s No. 10, an ethereal masterpiece by the artist from 1958 which made  $81,925,000.  Seven collectors, including clients from the U.S., Europe and Asia, chased the painting past the $50 million dollar mark.

    Lucian Freud - Benefits Supervisor Resting made a world record $56,165,000

    Lucian Freud – Benefits Supervisor Resting made a world record $56,165,000

    Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Resting sold for the world auction record price of $56,165,000. The previous artist’s auction record of $33.6 million, set at Christie’s London in 2008. The square-format depiction of Freud’s model Sue Tilley, which drew in viewers to Christie’s presale exhibitions in Hong Kong, London and New York, had never been offered at auction before. Four bidders chased the work up and over the $30 million mark.

    The stellar collection assembled by art world figures Ileana Sonnabend and her daughter Nina Sundell gave the sale a lively start. All nineteen works found buyers and the group totalled $60.1 million.

    There were eight artist world auction records: Freud; Robert Ryman ($20,605,000); Robert Rauschenberg ($18,645,000); Giovanni Anselmo ($6,437,000);  Hans Hofmann ($6,325,000); Sturtevant ($5,093,000); Rudolf Stingel ($4,757,000) and Carroll Dunham (4509,000).

    (See posts on for April 22, April 17  and April 15, 2015).


    Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

    Untitled (Yellow and Blue) by Mark Rothko sold for $46.5 million

    Untitled (Yellow and Blue) by Mark Rothko sold for $46.5 million

    Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue) made $46.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York last night. It was the top lot in a contemporary art evening sale which realised $380 million and set seven new artist price records.  There was global participation with works consigned from 11 countries and bidders from 40 countries and significant participation from Latin America and  Asia.

    Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue), which was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon for over 30 years, sold for $46,450,000 to an anonymous client after it was underbid by an Asian private collector.

    Roy Lichtenstein’s The Ring (Engagement) sold for $41,690,000.  The work has had only two owners in 50 years and came from the collection of Stefan T. Edlis. The price is nearly 20 times the $2,202,500 the work fetched when it last appeared at auction in November 1997 at Sotheby’s.

    There were artists records for Christopher Wool, Sigmar Polke, Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn, Danh Vô, Thomas Struth and Helen Frankenthaler.

    (See posts on for May 8 and April 13, 2015).

    Andy Warhol's Superman sold for $14,362,000

    Andy Warhol’s Superman sold for $14,362,000

    Sigmar Polke - Dschungel (Jungle), sold for a new record of $27,130,000

    Sigmar Polke – Dschungel (Jungle), sold for a new record of $27,130,000