Kelly Crow details the newly discovery 7-ft. work by Marc Rothko—Untitled #17— to be auctioned at Christie’s with an $18 million estimate:
The discovery of a new Rothko is rare, especially a large canvas dating to 1961—the same year that the Museum of Modern Art gave the artist a lauded retrospective, said Marc Glimcher, the president of New York’s Pace Gallery, which represents the Rothko estate.
Mr. Glimcher said he and the artist’s heirs, his two children, were not aware the work even existed. “It’s new to us,” Mr. Glimcher said. […] Careful bookkeeping tends to keep better track of modern masters like Rothko, but pieces can still sit unnoticed, particularly if collectors maintain low profiles or rarely exhibit their pieces.
To vet this new work’s authenticity, Christie’s said it has turned to David Anfam, a London-based art historian who oversaw the official tally of Rothko’s painting output (called a catalogue raisonné) in 1998.
Mr. Anfam said he inspected the work in person a month ago and deemed it a real Rothko because its size, palette, and brushwork are “consistent with Rothko’s hand and whole way of painting.”
Mr. Anfam added that the artist’s penciled signature on the back of its wooden frame also appears to be a match.
Christie’s said it has also informed the National Gallery of Art, which is cataloguing the artist’s works on paper.
A museum spokeswoman confirmed that its Rothko experts know about the painting’s discovery but are not permitted to weigh in on the merits of anything earmarked for auction.
Out of Nowhere, a Rothko (Wall Street Journal)