Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
signed twice 'MARK ROTHKO' (lower edge)
ink and gouache on paper
26 x 19 7⁄8 in. (66 x 50.5 cm.)
Executed in 1944-1945.
Hedda Sterne, New York
CDS Gallery, New York
Private collection, Los Angeles
Private collection, New York
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 10 November 1993, lot 105
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
This work has been submitted for consideration for inclusion in the forthcoming Mark Rothko Online Resource and Catalogue Raisonné of works on paper, compiled by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
NOTICE FOR COMPANY BIDDERS
If you are bidding on behalf of an entity and the entity already has a MyChristie's account, the company's name will need to be entered as part of the registration process.
If your company does not already have a MyChristie's account, you cannot register online at www.onlineonly.christies.com. You will first need to create a MyChristie's account. In either situation, Christie's may require that company to provide certain documents or meet certain qualifications as set forth below. If you registered as a company bidder, your company will need to pay for any purchases via a credit card issued to the company account and not a personal account.
If any individual is bidding on behalf of an entity, the tick box must be checked and the entity’s name will need to be entered as part of the registration process. Christie’s may require that the entity provide certain documents or meet certain qualifications in order to bid.
If you registered as an entity bidder, your entity will need to pay for any purchases via a credit card issued to the entity account and not a personal account.
Company buyers claiming exemption from sales tax must indicate this by ticking the Sales Tax Exemption box at the time of registration and have the appropriate documentation on file with Christie's prior to check-out to avoid being charged. Please contact Client Services at 212-636-2002 or firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm valid documentation.
PROPERTY INCORPORATING MATERIALS FROM ENDANGERED AND OTHER PROTECTED SPECIES
Property made of or incorporating (irrespective of percentage) endangered and other protected species of wildlife are marked with the symbol ~ in the lot description (or are identified in the lot description with language indicating as such). It is the client's responsibility to determine and satisfy the requirements of any applicable laws or regulations applying to the export or import of property containing endangered and other protected wildlife material. The inability of a client to export or import property containing endangered and other protected wildlife material is not a basis for cancellation or rescission of the sale. Lots containing potentially regulated wildlife material are marked as a convenience to our clients, but Christie's does not accept liability for errors or for failing to mark lots containing protected or regulated species.
Need Help? Email our Specialists or call +1 212 636 2000 with questions.
Painted one year before the end of the Second World War, Mark Rothko'sUntitled takes its cue from the Surrealists before him, looking inward to
the artist's own unconscious mind for inspiration and material for the work. Exploiting diluted washes of color, Rothko's works from the mid-1940s emerge
as biomorphic, Surrealist-inspired paintings of hybrid creatures floating in primordial waters. Like many early Abstract Expressionists, Rothko was
interested in the Earth's prehistoric origins and creation myths. Together with Adolph Gottlieb, he argued for the importace of such imagery and subject
matter. In a 1943 manifesto, art, they declared, should be "an adventure into an unknown world" and its subject matter must be "tragic and timeless,"
demonstrating a "spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art" (M. Rothko and A. Gottlieb quotedAbstract Expressionist New York, New York,
2011, at www.moma.org). Famously citing Joan Miro's The Family, which he had often visited in New York at the Museum of Modern Art, Untitled draws from plant, insect, and humanoid fragments of cellular life. These forms, Rothko maintained, "have no direct association with any
particular visible experience, but in them one recognizes the principle and passion of organisms" (M. Rothko quoted at, ibid.).
And yet, while the influence of Surrealism is undeniable, Robert Rosenblum in his seminal essay on Rothko's early paintings suggests the timing of the Second World War was equally as influential on the young group of Abstract Expressionists, stating: "The daily chronicle of evil reported in the newspapers and on the radio, the living presence in the United States of growing numbers of refuges from hell were ample testimony to the actuality of the Nazis, of the war, of the atom bomb; yet the remoteness and monstrosity of these events in Europe and the Pacific could also give them an unreal, almost symbolic character that only an eye-witness observer could force into contemporary fact. For artists like Rothko, the impulse during those years of dread must have been a familiar one in times of unthinkable terror: an eyes-shut flight to primitive beginnings to the vital sources of life, art, myth. It was a path already taken by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky on the eve of the First World War in their blanket rejection of the unbearable present of modern history in favor of a prehistoric world where all might begin again" (R. Rosenblum,Mark Rothko: The Surrealist Years, exh. cat., The Pace Gallery, New York, 1981, p. 6-7).
In this delicate yet powerful work on paper, Rothko takes a further step to solidify the themes which would come to dominate the rest of his career. Taking his lead from Surrealism and the language of abstraction we can begin to detect the emergence of the familiar blocks of color that were to become the signature elements of his later masterpieces. With veiled forms such as those found in Untitled, Rothko began to investigate a new language of reality, or plastic reality as the artist termed it, which explained the artist's philosophy of abstract art. "Proceeding from the key concept of the 'reality of tactility' as opposed to the 'reality of appearance," curator Oliver Wick explained, "Rothko described a tangible plasticity which would set painted shapes in motion, advancing and receding. This would endow the flat image with a physical, material reality, as if it were a very low relief. 'Plasticity,' he [Rothko] explained, 'is the quality of presentation of a sense of movement in painting.' Plasticity thus defined, became the fundamental condition of Rothko's pictorial reality and hence the precondition for a 'real' perceptual experience on the part of the viewer" (O. Wick, 'Mark Rothko: Seeing Blind and Drawing as Remembrance Commemorated,' Mark Rothko: Works on Paper 1930-1969, exh. cat., Galerie Beyeler, Basel, 2005, p. 17). Over the next few years, Rothko would continue to meld these delicate and wisp-like forms into solid blocks of color that would result in some of the greatest masterpieces of abstract art.
Additional charges, including buyer’s premium, valued added, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent tax, any and all shipping expenses, including
costs, packing and handling, any loss damage liability fees, and all other applicable charges will apply.
In addition to the hammer price, the buyer agrees to pay to us the buyer’s premium together with any applicable value added tax, sales, or compensating use tax or equivalent tax in the place of sale. The buyer’s premium is 25% of the hammer price of each lot up to and including $100,000, 20% of the excess of the hammer price above $100,001 and up to and including $2,000,000, and 12% of the excess of the hammer price above $2,000,001.New York Sales tax or valued added tax, sales or compensating use tax of any applicable jurisdiction will be collected before the lot can be released. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due. For international buyers, the terms of sale are Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) and duty and sales tax will be the sole responsibility of the buyer to be paid prior to shipment and/or delivery. The winning bidder will also be responsible for any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, and any loss damage liability fees. Provided that your purchased lots are paid for in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, Christie’s will store your lots free of charge until the relevant deadline for shipment, at which time purchases will be shipped to you at your expense and pursuant to the instructions you provide at time of payment. Christie's will provide loss damage liability for purchased lots when arrangements are made for such lots to be shipped to you at a rate of 1% (one percent) of the total purchase price. This will be charged at check-out and will cover loss, theft, damage or breakage."
You must pay the full amount due (comprising the hammer price, buyer’s premium, any applicable value added, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent
tax, any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, any loss damage liability fees and all other applicable charges) no later than
11:59 p.m. (EST) on May 22, 2014. This applies even if you wish to export the lot and an export license is, or may be, required. You
will not acquire title and own the lot until all amounts due to Christie’s have been received by Christie’s in full, cleared funds.
Delivery: Provided that your purchased lots are paid for in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, Christie’s will store your purchased lots free of charge until the relevant deadline for shipment, at which time purchases will be shipped to you at your expense and pursuant to the instructions you provided at the time of payment. You must indicate if you wish to have your purchases shipped domestically or internationally at the time of check-out. Payment for your purchase, including any applicable charges for shipping, and a provision of your final shipping destination, must be returned to Christie’s by the payment deadline to qualify for this extended free-of-charge storage. If shipping arrangements have not been confirmed for any items sold or such items have not been paid for in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, administration and handling fees may be charged at Christie’s full discretion. If such shipments can be facilitated, purchases will be shipped to the address you provide at check-out. Purchases cannot be delivered to P.O. boxes. Please ask for details from your customs agent, applicable government entity or other organization.
In addition to the hammer price, buyer’s premium and any applicable value added, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent tax, you will be responsible for any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, and any loss damage liability fees, as well as other applicable charges. Christie’s will provide loss damage liability for purchased lots when arrangements are made for such lots to be shipped or delivered to you at a rate of 1% (one percent) of the total purchase price. This will be charged at check-out and will cover loss, theft, damage or breakage.
If the buyer fails to make payment in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, Christie’s will be entitled in Christie’s absolute discretion to exercise one or more of the following rights or remedies (in addition to asserting any other rights or remedies available to us by law): (i) To charge interest at such rate as we shall reasonably decide; (ii) To hold the defaulting buyer liable for the total amount due and to commence legal proceedings for its recovery together with interest, legal fees and costs to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law; (iii) To cancel the sale; (iv) To resell the property publicly or privately on such terms as Christie’s and the seller shall think fit, and the buyer shall be liable for payment of any deficiency between the total amount originally due to us and the price obtained upon resale as well as for all costs, expenses, damages, legal fees and commissions and premiums of whatever kind associated with both sales or otherwise arising from the default; (v) To pay to the seller an amount up to the net proceeds payable in respect of the amount bid by the defaulting buyer;
(vi) To set off against any amounts which we, or Christie’s International plc, or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or parent companies worldwide, may owe to the buyer in any other transactions, the outstanding amount remaining unpaid by the buyer;
(vii) To reject at any future auction any bids made by or on behalf of the buyer or to obtain a deposit from the buyer before accepting any bids. (viii) To exercise all the rights and remedies of a person holding security over any property in our possession owned by the buyer, whether by way of pledge, security interest or in any other way, to the fullest extent permitted by the law of the place where such property is located. The buyer will be deemed to have granted such security to us and we may retain such property as collateral security for such buyer's obligations to us; and/or (ix) To take such other action as we deem necessary or appropriate.