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Works by Rothko, Lichtenstein fetch $88M at NY art auction

NEW YORK (AP) — Major works by Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstein brought in over $88 million at a Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art.

Rothko’s “Untitled (Yellow and Blue)” sold for $46.4 million Tuesday. The 8-foot-tall abstract painting of large yellow and blue planes hung at the National Gallery in Washington for 10 years while it was owned by the late Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. She acquired it directly from Rothko’s estate shortly after his death in 1970.

His “Orange, Red Yellow” holds the auction record, selling for almost $87 million in 2012.

Lichtenstein’s “The Ring (Engagement),” executed in his signature comic book style, shows a ring being placed on a finger. The 1962 work fetched $41.7 million. It was sold by philanthropist Stefan Edlis, who is donating a group of 42 pop and contemporary artworks valued at about $40 million to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The record for Lichtenstein is his “Woman With Flowered Hat,” which sold for $56 million in 2013.

Both paintings went to telephone bidders who wished to remain anonymous, Sotheby’s said.

Another highlight of Sotheby’s auction was Gerhard Richter’s “Abstract Painting,” which fetched $28.2 million. The auction record for the German artist is $46 million, set this year.

Sigmar Polke’s “Jungle” sold for $27.1 million, a record for the German artist. The same painting sold in 2011 for $9.2 million.

Andy Warhol’s “Superman” silkscreen garnered $14.3 million. The 1981 work is one of 10 iconic images in his Myths series that included Mickey Mouse and Howdy Doody.

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