Modern Art Auction Sets Records As Bids Reach $87 Million

Modern art is all the rage at the moment and the Christie’s auction house on Tuesday night proved that point when a Mark Rothko painting titled “Orange, Red, Yellow” managed to fetch $87 million, the most ever paid for a modern art piece. That huge price tag also far exceeded the $35 million to $40 million estimate the auction house had placed on the piece of art.

Rothko was not the only painter seeing huge returns on their work, a Jackson Pollock painting sold for $20.5 million and a Barnett Newman portrait grabbed $22.4 million, both of which were new highs for both artists.

Also scoring new records for their works were Yves Klein, Alexander Calder and Gerhard Richter.

Speaking of the modern art collections huge successes on the night Christie’s chairman explained:

“This is the most popular collecting category we have globally, with the richest and deepest number of buyers.”

What might be most impressive is how quickly the cost of such paintings has skyrocketed as one longtime dealer told the New York Times:

“I sold a red Rothko to the National Gallery of Berlin for $22,000.”

That $22,000 Rothko was sold in 1967 and now 45 years later at least one of his paintings fetched pretty darn close to the $100 million mark.

Artwork in general has seen huge bids placed in recent months including Edvard Munch’s The Scream which sold for a record $120 million on May 2.

When all was said and done the Christie’s auction managed to net an evening total of $388.5 million, far exceeding its expected take of $329 million.

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