Mark Rothko abstract may fetch $50M at auction

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Mark Rothko abstract may fetch $50M at auction

NEW YORK - A vibrant, large-scale abstract by Mark Rothko will lead Sotheby’s autumn sale of postwar and contemporary art, where it is expected to sell for as much as $50 million, the auction house said.

“No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue),” has been in the same collection for three decades and was one of eight works chosen by the artist for his 1954 landmark solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago.

It is one of only two of those works still remaining in private hands, with the others in major museum collections or owned by Rothko’s children, Sotheby’s said in a news release.

Tobian Meyer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art, called the offering “a major market event,” noting that “demand for key works by the artist has been insatiable,” dating back to Rothko’s “White Centre (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)” from the David Rockefeller collection fetching $72.8 million in 2007.

That price set a record for a Rothko, as well as for any post-war art at auction at the time.

Sotheby’s did not identify the owner of the piece, which carries a pre-sale estimated price of $35 million to $50 million when it is offered for sale on Nov. 13.

The work is just one of several major artworks announced for the upcoming November auctions at Sotheby’s and rival Christie’s in recent days.

Also at Sotheby’s, Picasso’s 1936 portrait of his mistress, “Femme a la Fenetre (Marie-Therese)” is expected to sell for $15 million to $20 million on Nov. 5. It has been in the same collection for 30 years, but Sotheby’s did not identify the consignor.

Christie’s meanwhile announced a rare offering of a major work by American artist Edward Hopper at its American art sale on Nov. 28.

“October on Cape Cod” is expected to sell for $8 million to $12 million.


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