Rothko Masterpiece Worth $50m To Be Auctioned In New York

The Schlumberger Collection

Sotheby’s New York will present The Schlumberger Collection this November. The magnificent compendium of Modern and Contemporary masterworks acquired by distinguished collectors and benefactors, Pierre and São Schlumberger brings together over 90 outstanding works from the Twentieth Century with a combined estimate in excess of $85 million and is led by Mark Rothko’s pivotal canvas No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) from 1951, which has been in The Schlumberger Collection for over 40 years.  Other highlights include important Color Field, Abstract Expressionist, Pop, and Surrealist works, reflecting a lifetime of collecting fueled by a singular vision and relationships with artists forged over decades.  Highlights will be on view in Hong Kong and London before the entire collection will be installed together in Sotheby’s New York headquarters for a special two-day preview exhibition from 22-24 October before being showcased in our main exhibitions of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art from 31 October to 11 November. The Collection will be offered in the Evening and Day Sales of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art on 4 & 5 and 11 & 12 November, respectively.
 “This dramatic canvas ranks among Mark Rothko’s most compelling paintings – from the zenith of his career – to remain in private hands. Its composition brings fresh changes on the artist’s classic ‘signature’ style. Together, these factors make No. 21 a unique example of Rothko’s art.”
– Dr. David Anfam, Editor of the catalogue raisonné Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas
Oliver Barker, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe commented: “Pierre and São Schlumberger belonged to one of the most important collecting dynasties of all time, but their vision was entirely their own: a unique aesthetic that blended their European roots with their American experience. Pierre’s early passion for the modern masters combined with São’s engagement with some of the key artists of the Twentieth Century to produce one of the most important private collections of our time, and helped prominent institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Centre Georges Pompidou to acquire major masterworks.  For several decades, the Schlumbergers were at the center of both New York and Paris society, and hosted such luminaries as Yves Saint Laurent, Andy Warhol and Rudolph Nureyev in their homes around the world. It is a tremendous honor to share their extraordinary legacy with collectors this autumn.”
No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) stands at the pinnacle of Mark Rothko’s mature work and is being offered at auction for the first time having been purchased by the Schlumbergers from the artist’s estate. The vast canvas was executed in 1951, a pioneering period for the artist when he was exploring the very limits of abstraction. The canvas was first exhibited in the legendary exhibition15 Americans at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1952. That seminal show included many of the most recognizable icons of American Art including Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Clyfford Still’s 1947-S, in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Mr. Barker added, “Among the finest examples of the artist’s work remaining in private hands, No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange), could easily achieve a price in excess of $50 million.”

Photo: Led by Mark Rothko’s Pivotal Canvas No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) from 1951


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