Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Huge bids smash modern art record
The auction record for post-war art has been smashed twice in one night.

Francis Bacon's portrait Study from Innocent X fetched $52.6m (£26.5m) at Sotheby's in New York - almost double the previous high for a Bacon work.

That was followed by a price of $72.8m (£36.7m) for US abstract artist Mark Rothko's 1950 work White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose).

They were far ahead of the last modern art auction record, the $27m (£13.6m) for Willem de Kooning's Untitled XXV.

New auction records were set for 15 artists in total, also including Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose untitled work from 1981 fetched $14.6m (£7.4m), almost three times his previous best.

The Rothko was sold by philanthropist David Rockefeller, who attended the auction.

The work had hung in his office since he bought it for less than $10,000 on the advice of Dorothy Miller, the first chief curator at New York's Museum of Modern Art, in 1960.

...proof that capitalism marches on.

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