This painting just sold for $46.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York

A Mark Rothko paint­ing sold for $46.5 mil­lion at a Sotheby’s auc­tion in New York, an evening in which sfartever­al records were set includ­ing one for a work by Ger­man artist Sig­mar Polke.

The Rothko work “Unti­tled, (Yel­low and Blue),” mea­sur­ing 2.42 meters by 1.86 meters (about 8 feet by 6.1 feet) and com­plet­ed in 1954, had been esti­mat­ed at between $40 mil­lion and $60 mil­lion.

The paint­ing was once owned by Amer­i­can socialite Rachel “Bun­ny” Mel­lon, accord­ing toBloomberg.

Rothko was one of the most suc­cess­ful and famous artists in Amer­i­ca before he killed him­self in 1970, The Guardian notes.

Sotheby’s notes on its web­site that “few 20th-cen­tu­ry mas­ters have inspired greater awe and rev­er­ence in their fol­low­ers than” Rothko.

Yel­low and Blue” was one of the star pieces of this evening of auc­tions of con­tem­po­rary works, includ­ing one by Roy Licht­en­stein titled “The Ring.” Sotheby’s had expect­ed it would go for $50 mil­lion, but in the end it sold for $41.69 mil­lion.

Anoth­er high­light of the sale, “Abstrak­tes Bild” by Germany’s Ger­hard Richter, was auc­tioned for $28.25 mil­lion, just under its pre­sale esti­mate of $30 mil­lion.

None of these three set a record.

But sev­er­al oth­er artists did set records for sales at auc­tion, includ­ing Polke. His paint­ing “Dschun­gel” (1967) went for $27.13 mil­lion, three times the pre­vi­ous price for one of his works, accord­ing to Sotheby’s.

Pri­or to the auc­tion it had been esti­mat­ed at about $20 mil­lion — a hefty sum for an artist Sotheby’s said was vir­tu­al­ly unknown until 2011.

A huge paint­ing by Christo­pher Wool, “Riot,” went for $29.93 mil­lion, com­pared with a pre­sale esti­mate of $12 mil­lion to $18 mil­lion — a record for a liv­ing Amer­i­can artist.

Amer­i­can Mark Grot­jahn, 47, also broke his own record with a work called “Unti­tled (Into and Behind the Green Eyes of the Tiger Mon­key Face).” It went for $6.52 mil­lion, twice the upper end of its ini­tial fore­cast range.

Sotheby’s also sold sev­er­al works by Andy Warhol, includ­ing “Super­man,” which went for $14.36 mil­lion (esti­mat­ed at $6 mil­lion to $8 mil­lion) and “Mao” for $14.4 mil­lion. It had been esti­mat­ed at $13 mil­lion to $16 mil­lion.

These esti­mates do not include costs and fees, unlike the final auc­tion prices.

On Mon­day a Picas­so oil paint­ing, “The Women of Algiers (Ver­sion 0),” smashed records for sales at auc­tion by going for $179 mil­lion.

It was the high­est price paid for any work of art sold at auc­tion, Christie’s said.

The auc­tion con­tin­ues Wednes­day in New York with sales of con­tem­po­rary art at Christie’s, fol­lowed Thurs­day with sales of impres­sion­ist and mod­ern art.


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