A seminal, large-scale masterpiece by Mark Rothko will lead Sotheby's Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on 13 November. No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) was painted in 1954, during the very zenith of the artist's creative focus. This majestic canvas was one of eight works hand-selected by Rothko for his landmark solo show of the same year at the Art Institute of Chicago and has remained in the same collection for 30 years. The painting is central to Rothko’s mature mode of artistic expression in which he pioneered unprecedented territory in a spectacular outpouring of innovation.
The auction will also present a distinguished collection of eight masterpieces of Abstract Expressionism, comprising paintings by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Arshile Gorky, Joan Mitchell, Hans Hofmann, and Adolph Gottlieb. Individually these works are stunning epitomes of the respective artists’ oeuvres, and collectively they form a spectacular survey of one of the most critical chapters of recent Art History. Having remained in the same private collection since they were acquired, predominantly in the early 1970s, these works have been largely out of public view for decades and represent a truly exciting opportunity for collectors. Click here for more information about this collection.
A highlight of more contemporaneous Art History, Gerhard Richter’s sensational Abstraktes Bild of 1990 will also be offered for sale, as a vast and astoundingly powerful crescendo of the artist’s inimitable mode of abstraction. The first painting he created in 1990, this work is one of just a handful of this date to exceed one hundred inches in height and this monumental scale utterly engulfs the viewer in its spectacular chromatic expanse.
Highlights of the auction will be on view at Sotheby’s in New York beginning 1 November.
TUESDAY, 13 NOVEMBER, NEW YORK - The 13 November Evening Auction of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s totaled $375,149,000, the best auction result in any category in the Company’s history (est. $277/374 million). The sale was 84% sold-by-lot and was led by Mark Rothko’s No.1 (Royal Red and Blue), which sold for $75,122,500 (est. $35/50 million). Artist records were set for Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, and Wade Guyton, as well as for a work-on-paper by Andy Warhol and a painting by Takashi Murakami.
“This has been an extraordinary year for Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s,” commented Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s. “Tonight’s record results bring our 2012 total to well over $1 billion, and we still have tomorrow’s Day auction, as well as our upcoming sale in Paris. The Rothko was the undisputed highlight of the evening, surpassing the Rockefeller Rothko to become the second highest price ever achieved for the artist at auction. The wonderful consignment from the Collection of Sidney and Dorothy Kohl brought more than $100 million, led by the Jackson Pollock, which sold for $40.4 million, well above expectations. If you are looking for evidence that today’s market is alive and well, look no further.”