Untitled Mark Rothko painting realises $4.9m in London

An untitled painting by Mark Rothko has sold for £3.3m ($4.9m) at Sotheby's London.

The lot headlined the Bear Witness sale, which brought together a wealth of artefacts and curios from a single owner collection over March 10-12.

Mark Rothko Sothebys
Mark Rothko was a pioneering abstract expressionist painter

While Rothko is best known for his enormous canvases, his works on paper are considered their equal - showcasing a more delicate side of his artistic vision.

B Clearwater, in Mark Rothko: Works on Paper, explains: "Rothko never abandoned bright colours in his works on paper, the late vibrant paintings on paper contain a force not experienced in earlier small works … these late creations, with their dense unmodulated surfaces, do not flicker with light; rather, they generate a strong, constant glow."

Sotheby's Alex Branczik commented prior to the sale: "This truly idiosyncratic collection is a modern day Wunderkammer, assembled to inspire and amaze. Crossing every continent, from Mexico to Japan, Indonesia to China, 'Bear Witness' encompasses everything from the contemporary to the curious."

"Quite possibly the most extraordinary exhibition Sotheby's has staged in its 270-year history - it is a unique opportunity to see works by the likes of Hirst, Warhol and Koons alongside the objects and ephemera that inspired them."

The sale also included a monument to England's footballing failures, which sold for £425,000 ($640,000) on March 10.

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