Reports from ArtBasel 43 are focusing on the Mark Rothko painting being offered by Marlborough Gallery. Meanwhile, Gagosian is quietly asking nearly as much for a Warhol Marilyn work. Though both prices are keyed to prominent validating sales. In the case of the Warhol, the $100m said to be paid privately for Warhol’s Eight Elvises.
Colin Gleadell puts the Rothko into a similar context:
The most expensive work will be on London’s Marlborough Fine Art stand where Mark Rothko’s large abstract painting Untitled 1954, (pictured), is priced at $78 million (£50 million). The painting was formerly owned by New York banker turned art dealer, Robert Mnuchin, who sold it at Christie’s in 2007 for $26.9 million. It was the second highest price paid for a Rothko, behind White Center, 1950, which had sold the night before at Sotheby’s for $72.8 million to the royal family of Qatar. Untitled was, comparatively, a bargain, and was bought by a collector in Switzerland, who has now decided to sell. One very good reason for this decision is that another large Rothko painting, Orange, Red, Yellow, 1960, set a new record this year, selling in New York for $87 million. There were still three contenders for the painting as the bidding soared over $70 million, so two of them, perhaps, are still looking.
ArtBasel 2012: The Future’s Orange (Telegraph)