The auction was led by two paintings by Mark Rothko that both exceeded expectations: Untitled from 1970, which achieved $39,925,000, and Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) from 1955, which fetched $36,565,000. This ‘White Glove’ auction (100% sold by lot) offering a curated selection of the most significant fine art from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon totaled $158,737,250, well-exceeding its high estimate of $120.1 million.
Sotheby’s will offer a curated selection of important fine art from the collection in a dedicated evening auction on 10 November. Ranging from 17th-century still lifes through to masterpieces of the 20th century, the incredible breadth and depth of Mrs. Mellon’s fine art reveals her ultimate connoisseurship, and an approach to collecting across styles and genres that is increasingly rare. The Masterworks auction is led by Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) from 1955, which captures the ephemeral magic of daybreak (right, est. $20/30 million). The work belongs to the most pivotal moment in the artist’s career -- he painted only 22 works in this pinnacle year, 13 of which reside in prestigious museum collections. The collection also offers Rothko’s Untitled from 1970, classified as the penultimate painting in the artist’s prodigious oeuvre (est. $15/20 million). Both works have remained in the Mellons’ collection for more than 40 years. The sale offers three monumental canvases from Richard Diebenkorn’s famed Ocean Park series, each acquired by the Mellons in the 1970s shortly after they were created. Old Master Paintings from the collection are led by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder’s Still Life (est. $3/4 million), and the American Art includes works by Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper.