Rothko Untitled goes on sale

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black on Maroon)

Mark Rothko Untitled (Black on Maroon), estimate: $25/35 million


It’s no secret that we love Rothko. That’s why we’ll be paying close attention to Sotheby’s marquee fall sale today, which will see Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Black on Maroon) go under the hammer.

A highlight of the Contemporary Art Evening Auction, it was painted at the height of the artist’s extraordinary career and completed the same year (1958) as his iconic Seagram Mural cycle, which he considered to be among his greatest artistic achievements. The present work represents the first Rothko canvas from 1958 to appear at auction since 2015. It’s perhaps no surprise therefore that Untitled (Black on Maroon) will be offered with an estimate of $25/35 million.

David Galperin, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auctions in New York, said: “We have had the privilege of presenting a number of important works by Mark Rothko from this pivotal period in his career, such as the important Untitled, 1960 that we were honoured to sell on behalf of SFMOMA last year. During this critical moment, Rothko comes to his full mature powers as a colourist, pushing the bounds of the picture plane and getting ever closer to his objective of realising the sublime. Untitled (Black on Maroon) demonstrates the artist at the full height of his powers, achieving a similar impact in a single painting to the awe-inspiring experience one has when standing among the famed Seagram Murals at the Tate.”

Untitled (Black on Maroon) stands at 72 inches tall and is one of 36 works produced in 1958 that measure over 50 inches in either direction. Of these, 19 are in institutional collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art in Sakura, Japan, and the Tate Collection in London. The remainder are in prominent private collections.

To celebrate 50 years since Mark Rothko first gave Tate his iconic Seagram Murals, Tate Britain has also recently opened Rothko and Turner, a new collection route reflecting the ongoing relationship between British historic art and international modern art.

Further highlights of the Evening Sale include Clyfford Still's 1957-G (estimate $12/18 million) and Brice Marden's 3 (estimate $10/15 million), which will be offered on behalf of the Baltimore Museum of Art.


Clyfford Still's 1957-G

Clyfford Still's 1957-G, estimate: $12/18 million

Brice Marden's 3

Brice Marden's 3, estimate $10/15 million