Art Buzz May 9, 2012: Christie’s Record Making Contemporary Art Auction Takes $388.5 Million — Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961” Alone Sold for $87 Million

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

ART NEWS

Rothko Leads a Record Contemporary Art Sale

Source: NYT, 5-9-12

In a surge of bidding unprecedented in art market history, Christie’s Tuesday evening sale of contemporary art took in $388.5 million, the highest amount ever in that field.

Christie’s

Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961,” which sold for just under $87 million, had not appeared in the market for 45 years.

Christie’s

Yves Klein’s “FCI (Fire Color I),” which was completed in 1962 shortly before the French artist’s death, brought an astounding $36.48 million.

A world auction record was set for a work of contemporary art when Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow” painted in 1961 sold for just under $87 million. Christie’s estimate was $35 million to $45 million, plus the sale charge of more than 15 percent. Christopher Burge, who conducted the session with exceptional brio, brought down his hammer on the $77.5 million winning bid after one of the longest bidding matches yet witnessed in a contemporary art sale.

The Rothko had everything going for it. Acquired from Marlborough Fine Art in London in 1967 by David Pincus, one of the leading American collectors in the second half of the century, the picture, consigned from the connoisseur’s estate, had never appeared in the market during the intervening 45 years….READ MORE

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Art Buzz May 2, 2012: Edvard Munch: ‘The Scream’ auctioned for record $119.9 million at Sotheby’s

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

ART NEWS

Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ goes for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s

Source: LAT, 5-2-12

Edvard Munch's 1895 pastel 'The Scream'

Sotheby’s sells Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ for $119.9 million on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 (Carl Court / AFP /Getty Images / April 29, 2012 / May 2, 2012)

Sometimes beauty is trumped by the beast. After bullish expectations and an aggressive marketing campaign for an image considered the quintessential expression of modern horror, Sotheby’sNew York sold Edvard Munch‘s 1895 “The Scream” for $119.9 million on Wednesday night, setting a record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction.
The top spot was previously held by Picasso’s 1932 “Nude, Green, Leave and Bust” — a painting of his much-younger lover Marie-Therese Walter that sold at Christie’s in 2010 for $106.5 million.

The identity of the buyer, who was bidding by phone during the 12-minute auction, has not been confirmed. Bidding started at $40 million, with at least five bidders. Rumors before the sale, not confirmed, focused on interest from the royal family of Qatar.

Munch’s “The Scream” achieved another milestone: It now ranks as the most expensive drawing publicly sold. For this version of “The Scream” — one of four — is best described as a crayon or pastel drawing, not a painting, on board. The Munch Museum in Oslo owns a pastel as well as a painted version, while the National Gallery of Norway holds the earliest painting, dated 1893….READ MORE

And it easily beat out the previous auction record for Munch, also held by Sotheby’s. In 2008, the auction house sold the 1894 Munch painting “Vampire,” a melodramatic image of a red-haired, bare-armed woman kissing a man’s neck, for about $38 million.