Sotheby’s has announced plans to holds its marquee contemporary and Impressionist & modern art evening auctions each on October 28 at the house’s York Avenue headquarters. The auction will be live-streamed in the same virtual control-center format debuted in the June hybrid sales that together brought $363.2 million. The news follows a strong run of Hong Kong sales in the past week, which brought in $280 million.
Sotheby’s has secured two major consignments for the sales at the end of the month. Leading the contemporary art segment will be Rothko’s Untitled (Black on Maroon), from 1958, estimated at $25 million–$35 million. A floral still life by Vincent van Gogh titled Fleur Dans Un Verre (1890) will highlight the impressionist portion of the night. It is expected to fetch between $14 million–$18 million.
Following Christie’s evening sale on October 6, which generated $341 million, the move marks a break from the typical November schedule. In another major shift from the traditional calendar, the house will add an additional set of major sales for the two departments in early December. It plans to stage its Impressionist and modern and contemporary day sales in mid-November as usual.
Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, said in a statement that the move provides more flexibility. “Presenting our marquee sales of contemporary and impressionist art throughout the fall allows us to maximize our sale schedule for the benefits of our clients,” she said.
Standing at 72 inches tall, the Rothko was completed during the time of Rothko’s commission to produce the series of works for the Four Seasons restaurant at the Seagram’s New York’s Park Avenue location—it shares a title and scheme with the Seagram mural Black on Maroon from 1958 at the Tate London. The present work last sold at Christie’s in May 2013 for $27 million.
Other comparables reside in major museum collections, including No. 16 (Red, Brown and Black) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Four Darks in Red (1958) at the Whitney Museum. In total, Rothko completed 36 works scaling over 50 inches that year. Twenty of those examples are in major museums collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
At the time the painting was created, Rothko began developing an increasingly somber palette that has been recognized as a feature of his career’s apex. The year 2015 was the last time a major Rothko from 1958 came to auction, when Christie’s sold No. 10, a large-scale black- and orange-hued canvas, for $82 million.
Van Gogh completed his floral still-life during his 70 day stay in Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890 just before his death, where he completed his famous portrait of Dr. Gatchet. The present work was restituted to the family of Polish jeweler and modern art collector Alfred Lindon after its recovery from the Gallery Lucerne in Paris in 1946. Among the works from Lindon’s collection seized under the Nazi regime are Vuillard’s Le Salon de Madame Aron (1911–12) and Monet’s La rue Montorgueil, à Paris. Fête du 30 juin 1878, from 1878. The Van Gogh painting was among the many works from Lindon’s holdings that went to the collection of Nazi Hermann Göring. In the 1950s, the original owner’s descendant Jacques Lindon sold it to Florida industrialist Sylvester Hope Labrot.
In 2014, another Van Gogh made the same year, titled Still Life, Vase with Daisies, and Poppies, sold at Sotheby’s New York for $61.8 million.