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.
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.