Rothko Fetches $73 Million

Record price for seminal modern work marks trend in art purchases
By Sarah Levy,  Newser User
Posted May 16, 2007 8:18 AM CDT
This image provided by Sotheby's New York shows Mark Rothko's 1950 "White Center" oil on canvas, the painting sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $72.8 million at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Sotheby’s sold a Mark Rothko painting last night for $72.84 million, a record price for a piece of art created after World War II and a signal of a new boom in the market. Seller David Rockefeller bought the 7-foot-tall "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender)," an early example of the painter's signature blocks of color, for $8,500 in 1960.

“There has been a seismic shift in people wanting to buy masterpieces,” said the auctioneer, who attributes the surge in modern art sales to globalization. A sale at Christie’s tonight is expected to bring in a record $300 million with works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Damien Hirst. "The whole marketplace is crazy," one gallery owner told Bloomberg. (Read more Sotheby's stories.)