NEW YORK – On the same day that Sotheby's Geneva held the most successful jewellery auction ever, Sotheby's New York staged one of its biggest sales of Contemporary art. Bookending two weeks of extraordinary sales at Sotheby’s, the Contemporary Art Evening auction realized a total $379.7 million.

Formerly in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, whose estate sold at Sotheby’s over three historic auctions in November 2014, Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue) realized $46.5 million. Executed in 1954, a key year in the artist’s career, the painting is stunning in its scale and masterful approach to color and light. A compact but formidable abstraction from 1950 by Jackson Pollock, another New York School artist, sold for $18.3 million.

Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue) sold for $46,450,000.

Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 canvas The Ring (Engagement) sold for $41.7 million. Based on romance comics of the period, the dazzling and monumental work is one of Lichtenstein’s most powerful of the early 1960s.

Roy Lichtenstein’s The Ring (Engagement) sold for $41,690,000.

Christopher Wool’s Untitled (RIOT) from 1990 sparked a flurry of bidding, driving the painting to more than double its presale low estimate, finally selling for $29.9 million, a record for the artist at auction. A new auction record was also set for Sigmar Polke whose 1967 Dschungel (Jungle) sold for $27.1 million, surpassing the artist’s previous record $9.2 million which was set at Sotheby’s in 2011.

Sigmar Polke’s Dschungel (Jungle) sold for $27,130,000, a record for the artist at auction.

Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild from a cycle of works executed in 1992, sold for $28.3 million. The canvas is one of just eleven paintings from the cycle that exceeds eight feet in height, nine of which belong to institutional collections.

Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild sold for $28,250,000.

To benefit the endowment of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, artists donated works to be offered at Sotheby’s across the Contemporary Art Evening and Day sales. Among them, record prices were realized for works by Mark Bradford, whose Smear sold for $4.4 million, and Mark Grotjahn, whose Untitled (Into and Behind the Green Eyes of the Tiger Monkey Face 43.18) sold for $6.5 million. The eight works sold to benefit MOCA at the Contemporary Art Evening sale totaled $15.9 million; additional works benefitting the museum will be sold during the Contemporary Art Day sale on 13 May.


13 May 2015 | New York