US & Canada

Mark Rothko work sold for record $86.9m at auction

Orange, red, yellow by Mark Rothko
Image caption Orange, red, yellow was painted in 1961

Mark Rothko's Orange, red, yellow has been sold for $86.9 million (£53.8m) - the highest price ever fetched by a piece of contemporary art at auction.

The 1961 painting went under the hammer at Christie's in New York.

The auction house said the sale's total takings - $388.5m (£240.5m) - exceeded the previous record for a contemporary art auction, set in 2007.

Last week a version of Edvard Munch's The Scream set a new world record after selling at auction for $119.9m (£74m).

Prior to Tuesday's sale, the most paid for a Mark Rothko work at auction was $72.84m (£45m).

Francis Bacon's Triptych held the previous record for a piece of post-war art, having sold for $86.3m (£53.4m) in 2008.

Media captionThe seven minute auction for the Rothko work saw the hammer drop at $77.5 million (£48m) before commission

A total of 14 artists recorded new highs for their works on Tuesday, with only three of the 59 lots on offer failing to sell.

Among the new records set include the $36.5m (£22.6m) paid for Yves Klein's FC1, a piece created with water, two models and a blowtorch shortly before the French artist's 1962 death.

Jackson Pollock's Number 28, 1951, one of the artist's seminal drip paintings, fetched $23m (£14.2m), while an untitled 1980 work by Willem de Kooning went for $14.1m (£8.7m).

Another high-profile contemporary art auction takes place on Wednesday, when Roy Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl goes under the hammer at Sotheby's in New York.

The estimated value for the 1964 "Pop Art" piece has been put between $30m (£18.5m) and $40m (£24.7m).

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