Mark Rothko work sold for record $86.9m at auction

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

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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.

The seven-minute auction saw the hammer drop at $77.5 m (£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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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 97.

    I freely admit that I know nothing about art but I have a copy of another Rothko abstract on my bedroom wall (cost about £50 BTW) simply because I like the bright colours. The Mona Lisa might require a million times more talent to paint but I don't want that on my wall.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 96.

    A have a similar one on my wall, I drew it when I was 5.

    If you'd like to purchase it for a small fee of £1,000,000 please contact.....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 95.

    It's orange! Where is the red and the yellow? Why not just call it Orange? Ahhh perhaps we art lovers might confuse it with a mobile telephone.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 94.

    I know some of you will look down your nose at me but when I look at art I want to be amazed at the skill of the artist - like Leonardo de Vinci and know I could live a thousand years and never be able to paint like that. Slapping orange paint on canvas doesn't do it for me. Whoever bought this knows the value of nothing.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 93.

    Actually, I'm a big fan. Rothco could paint anything - he was gifted - but one day like other great artists he discovered his own unique style and for the rest of his life that's how he painted. Jackson Pollock was the same, the same can be said of musicians who one day find that sound or style which defines them. People here are missing the point. His art is amazing its a rejection of everything

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 92.

    FjB – making £50m as an artist is not easy – normally it involves dying (so you can’t paint), someone within the artist fraternity saying you are wonderful, great, the best and need to create a lot of hype. That’s not easy! But if I painted loads of pictures with two coloured rectangles in a coloured border most people would say it’s a load of rubbish but I’m not called Mark Rothko.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 91.

    What a load of old cobblers for a piece of junk--just shows how art
    "experts" are ,in the main,fooled by hype.
    A few years ago a room full of "experts" ranted and raved over work
    presented to them as being "exciting;visionery;defining etc."
    It then came out that the work had been done by a baby elephant!
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,some experts must need glasses
    badly.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 90.

    ....Seriously?

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 89.

    Lots of people saying it is rubbish, or easy. The same way people like to say that Premiership footballers are overpaid and "Just kick a ball around"... Well if it is so easy, then why not get down the shops, buy a tin of orange, red & yellow, and make yourself a quick £50m+ then? Or pop down to Old Trafford and show them how easy football is, then demand £250k per week? ...Ah, thought not.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 88.

    I like this art! I’m sure some art student could have done the same work as is not sophisticated or complex. It is strange who becomes famous or not. As for the buyer shows there is still a lot of money out there in these times of austerity. Austerity is certainly not hurting some people or the auction houses.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 87.

    does money make people stupid?
    or is it just that stupid people have money?

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 86.

    That some individual or organisation can spend so much money on a bit of coloured canvas is a sad reflection of the gross inequality in the world and the values and priorities of those with this kind of wealth.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 85.

    @bakewellpudding

    I wonder, if the "über-rich" are just puppies in the hands of the "pompous lovies" and waste money on absurdities, how they managed to get über-rich in the first place.

    "...tell their friends [...] but most importantly of all, how much they spent."
    Don't you think the "über-rich" read the papers?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 84.

    Art, as we all know, is very subjective as some of the posts on here prove.

    But, in my little world I like to think of the definition of art to be something that only a select number of talented people can produce.

    Painting some orange colours on canvas can be done by anyone (queue arguements to say that it can't) but, it can.

    Modern art is vastly overrated and this just proves the point.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 83.

    As Tom Stoppard said… “Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art”. Maybe he should have added that “no skill and no imagination gives us an $87m confidence trick”.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 82.

    Honestly............I think it's rubbish. Clearly I have very poor taste..........or do I??

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 81.

    I wonder if the people buying these artworks are the same people who have made a fortune out of the global economic crisis...

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 80.

    If one wants to get screwed out of their money, it seems to me that this amount would have been better spent on about 87,000 high-end escorts.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 79.

    Well I think it's a beautiful piece of art, but yes $86.9m just says there are too many people in the world with more money than sense, the use that the third world could have made of that money makes me despair.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 78.

    "a very sophisticated market"
    The etymology of "sophisticated" includes: disguising, deception, adulterating,...
    It is comforting to see how so much money is in the hands of such sophisticated people.
    As for "seasoned collectors", I'll take that with a pinch of salt.

 

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