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



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.


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


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