Mark Rothko’s 1954 No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) will lead Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on 13 November 2012 in New York. Measuring 113¾ x 67½ in (288.9 x 171.5 cm), this Rothko’s masterpiece is estimated to fetch between $35 million and $50 million.
No.1 (Royal Red and Blue), has been in the same collection for three decades and was one of eight works selected by the artist for his solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1954. It has been exhibited in many museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.
This Rothko’s vibrant, large scale abstract painting 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. Rumors says that the seller of No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) is Anne Marion, owner of Burnett Cos. in Fort Worth, Texas, and wife of John L. Marion, who was Sotheby’s chairman and chief auctioneer. Sotheby’s declined to confirm the seller of the work except to say that the painting is held in a family trust.
Even if No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) achieve the price of $50 Million, it still is lagging behind the $72.84 million for Rothko’s White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) sold at Sotheby’s in May 2007 (we wrote about that earlier), and $86.9 million for Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow sold at Christie’s in May this year – the highest price ever fetched by a piece of contemporary art at auction.
Also, at the Sotheby’s sale of impressionist and modern art scheduled to be held on November 5th, Pablo Picasso’s 1936 portrait of his mistress, Femme a la Fenetre (Marie-Therese) is expected to sell for $15 million to $20 million!