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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Unearthed Rothko, $10 Lichtenstein in Spring Auction Surprises

"Drawing for Kiss V" by Roy Lichtenstein has en estimate range of $800,000 to $1.2 million. It will be offered for sale at Christies's in New York on May 11. "Drawing for Kiss V" by Roy Lichtenstein has en estimate range of $800,000 to $1.2 million. It will be offered for sale at Christies's in New York on May 11. Source: Christie's Images Ltd. via Bloomberg

An undocumented Mark Rothko painting could fetch as much as $22 million at Christie’s in New York next month as collectors from Moscow to Qatar vie for trophy art.

“Untitled No. 17,” depicting pink and red rectangles on a tangerine-yellow background, will be offered at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art auction on May 11.

The 1961 painting, which hasn’t been seen publicly since 1965, is one of several rediscovered art works on the block this year. Christie’s is offering Roy Lichtenstein’s, “Drawing for Kiss V,” which re-emerged after decades of obscurity with an estimate range of $800,000 to $1.2 million. It was originally bought with a $10 lottery ticket in 1965.

An unpublished 1967 self-portrait by Andy Warhol fetched 10.8 million pounds ($17.4 million) at Christie’s in London earlier this year.

“Untitled No. 17” is one of 10 Rothko paintings discovered since the publication of the artist’s catalogue raisonne in 1998.

“It’s one of the very few that got away,” said David Anfam, London-based art historian and the author of “Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas.” “It went to a private collection soon after it was made and those collectors just kept a very low profile.”

Rothko painted 22 mostly somber canvases in 1961, the year of his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“This work is coming in between two milestones of his late development,” Anfam said. “He has finished the Seagram murals, and he is on the brink of getting into the Harvard murals; that’s going to be in 1962.”

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