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Rothko painting sold for USD 86.9 million at U.S. auction

14.05.2012

A large-scale, sunset-colored painting by Daugavpils-born (southeastern Latvia) painter Mark Rothko fetched USD 86.9 million at auction Tuesday, setting a new record for any contemporary work of art, and headlining a stunningly lucrative night for ''Christie's'' in New York, the AFP news agency reports.

A large-scale, sunset-colored painting by Daugavpils-born (southeastern Latvia) painter Mark Rothko fetched USD 86.9 million at auction Tuesday, setting a new record for any contemporary work of art, and headlining a stunningly lucrative night for ''Christie's'' in New York, the AFP news agency reports.

"Orange, red, yellow" was as hot on the ''Christie's'' block as the colors on the bold abstract canvas. A thicket of hands shot up to catch the attention of auctioneer Christopher Burge, bids leaping in increments of a million, sometimes two million dollars.

The hammer finally fell at nearly USD 87 million, including final commission, easily breaking the previous record for Rothko's most expensive work of USD 72.84 million and in the process becoming the most expensive contemporary work of art ever at auction, ''Christie's'' said.

As reported, Mark Rothko was born in Daugavpils in 1903. His family moved to the United States when Rothko was 10. Rothko enrolled at Yale University where he studied English and French, European history, mathematics, physics, biology, economy and philosophy. He later dropped out of university and moved to New York, where he started painting.

Rothko became a popular U.S. artist and contributed greatly to the development of abstract art.

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