White Center: Mark Rothko

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Mark Rothko’s pristine painting is expected to grab upwards of $40 million at Sotheby’s auction

By Stephanie Wilson

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 This pristine work, which has never appeared at auction, is estimated to take in bids in excess of $40 million at an auction at Sotheby’s New York, taking place on May 15th.

With a net wealth of somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion, it is no wonder David Rockefeller has his hands on some of the most influential art pieces of our time. This prominent philanthropist, banker, and statesman is the beloved patriarch of one of America’s most renowned families. As the famous quote goes, “For David Rockefeller, the presidency of the United States would be a demotion.”

An avid collector of modern art, a crown jewel in Rockefeller’s extensive collection may be the 1950’s masterpiece White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose) by renowned artist Mark Rothko. Rockefeller says, “This wonderful painting has given me great pleasure for almost fifty years, ever since MoMA’s legendary chief curator, Dorothy Miller, told me about it and urged me-if not insisted-that I acquire it… Over the years, it became one of my wife’s favorite paintings, and I grew to respect deeply Rothko’s power as an artist and the subtle beauty and intricate balance of great work.”

After all this time, Rockefeller is bidding adieu to the piece, which has been called the first fully-realized painting of Mark Rothko’s mature style. This pristine work, which has never appeared at auction, is estimated to take in bids in excess of $40 million at an auction at Sotheby’s New York, taking place on May 15th.

“Rothko’s White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose) is one of the artistic monuments of the 20th Century,” said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art. “Every artist has one painting with which he is closely associated, and for Rothko, this is the one. It is one of the most important Rothkos still in private hands and without a question is in the pantheon of Abstract Expressionist masterpieces.”

For more information on bidding on this impassioned form of abstract painting, contact Sotheby’s New York at 541.312.5682.

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