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It Sold For What?!

November 15th, 2012

Mark Rothko's "No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)". Photo: Sotheby's

$75 million! That’s what three rectangles painted by Mark Rothko sold for Tuesday at Sotheby’s auction house in New York.

The painting is called “No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue). It’s 9 feet tall. It was painted nearly 60 years ago, in 1954.

Seems a little crazy, doesn’t it, for a painting you look at and probably think … “I could do that!”

Amazingly, it’s not even the most amount of money someone’s paid for a Mark Rothko painting. “No. 1” is actually number two! Last October a collector paid $87 million for a different (but similar) Mark Rothko painting. That’s the record.

So, what’s the big deal?

Mark Rothko moved from Russia to the U.S. when he was 10 years old. He painted his most famous works in the 1950’s. He died in 1970.

He’s best known for his abstract paintings but he started out painting realistic images and grew increasingly abstract.

What he wanted was for you to feel the emotions he was painting.

“He decided that simple shapes were the best for showing complicated feelings. The large, simple shapes allow you to feel instead of think when you look at Rothko’s paintings … He painted … on huge canvases because he wanted the viewer to get lost in the painting … He wanted you to stand close and become a part of the artwork. He wanted you to feel the emotion he had painted,” according to an art blog for kids called ArtSmarts4Kids .

For now, the buyer is anonymous.

By comparison, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for $119 million . And a painting by Cezanne sold for $250 million .

To learn more about Mark Rothko’s technique you can watch the great video below by New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

What do you think about Mark Rothko’s works?

Do you feel emotion when you look at his paintings?

What do you think about how much money his paintings sell for?

You can also visit Mark   and’s Mark Rothko page for more in depth information about the artist and his works.

And you can watch a video of the auction below:

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