Mark Rothko’s artwork “Orange, Red, Yellow” has achieved the highest ever price for a piece of contemporary art at auction – fetching $86.9 million.
The 1961 painting was sold at Christie’s in New York.
The auction house said the total takings of $388.5 million had beaten the previous record for a contemporary art auction, set in 2007.
Last week Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” set the world record for an artwork – selling for $119.9 million.
Another high-profile contemporary art auction takes place on Wednesday – when Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sleeping Girl” is the pick of the pieces going under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York. The estimated value is put at $30 million-$40 million.
On Tuesday, “Orange, Red, Yellow” soared past the previous Mark Rothko record of $72.84 million.
Sales director Laura Paulson said the work was a personification of the art of Mark Rothko, who died in New York in 1970.
Francis Bacon’s Triptych held the previous post-war art record – selling for $86.3 million in 2008.
A total of 14 artists recorded new highs for their works on Tuesday, including the $36.5 million paid for Yves Klein’s piece “FC1” and the $21.8 million registered for Gerhard Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild”.
“The market really responded,” said Brett Gorvy, Christie’s international head of post-war and contemporary art.
“It is a very knowledgeable market, a very sophisticated market. We saw very seasoned collectors, as well as new collectors coming forward.”