Rothko bid a record for contemporary art

May 16, 2007 at 12:34 PM
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NEW YORK, May 16 (UPI) -- A $72.8 million bid for a Mark Rothko painting, a record for the artist and any contemporary work at auction, paced a record session at Sotheby's in New York.

Sotheby's declined to name the buyer of Rothko's "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)," sold Tuesday on behalf of David Rockefeller, retired banker and chairman emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The painting was estimated at $40 million.

In addition to the Rothko, records were set for artists such as Francis Bacon, Morris Louis, Richard Prince and Cecily Brown. Sotheby's reported the sale totaled $254.8 million, just shy of its $265 million high estimate.

Another record bid -- an unidentified telephone bidder's $52.6 million -- was offered for Bacon's "Study From Innocent X." The canvas was estimated at $30 million.

"The Architect's Home in the Ravine" by Scottish-born painter Peter Doig sold for $3.6 million, while estimated between $1.2 million and $1.8 million.

Of the 74 lots, nine failed to sell, Sotheby's said, including three by Jackson Pollack.

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