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White Center
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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 on Tuesday evening May 15.
updated 5/15/2007 11:13:16 PM ET 2007-05-16T03:13:16

The record price for postwar art was broken twice at a Sotheby’s auction Tuesday, first with a Francis Bacon work and later with a Mark Rothko painting, which went for almost $73 million, the auction house said.

The 1950 Rothko painting, “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose),” of blocks of color, sold for $72.8 million to an anonymous bidder, Sotheby’s said.

Shortly before, a 1962 Bacon painting of a pope, “Study from Innocent X,” sold to an anonymous bidder for $52.6 million.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings The previous record was held by a 1977 Willem de Kooning work of swaths of bright colors called “Untitled XXV,” which sold for $27 million at a Christie’s auction last November, Sotheby’s said.

Another work, an untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1981, sold Tuesday for $14.6 million, setting an auction record for the artist.

The sale prices include the buyer’s premium.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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