$72.8m Mark Rothko’s painting has gone to Qatar

Qatar’s ruling Al-Thani family is the mystery buyer of Mark Rothko’s White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950, which sold at Sotheby’s New York on 15 May 2007 for $72.8m - setting a record for the highest price ever paid for a work of post-war art at auction. The painting was consigned by David Rockefeller.

Mark Rothko was a Belarusian-born Jewish American painter. He was born Marcus Rothkowitz in 1903, in Dzvinsk, Vitebsk province*. In 1913 he and his family moved to America.

A well placed source in Qatar has revealed that the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and his wife, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, also purchased Francis Bacon’s Study from Innocent X for $52.7m at the same Sotheby’s sale. Although Sotheby’s does not disclose information about its clients, both purchases have been independently confirmed by The Art Newspaper.

The Al-Thani family has been a major collector of Islamic art for several years but it has not previously been known to buy European and American work at this level.

The entry of the Al-Thanis into this market is part of a global movement of high-end works of art from West to East as American and European collectors—encouraged by the resilience of the top end of the market in the face of uncertainty in the financial sectors—consign works to auction which are increasingly going to new collectors in the Gulf region, the ex-Soviet republics and China.

 Mark Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950
Mark Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950

* At that time this Belarusian town was under the dominion of the Russian Empire and in 1920 it was given up to Latvia and renamed Daugavpils.

Text posted in The Art Newspaper .

Photoes posted in www.portfolio.com and www.artinfo.com

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