12 November 2013 looks set to enter the annals of Christie’s, which is offering three exceptional works at spectacular price levels – and with good reason: Rothko's iconic work is heralded as the most important since the sale of Orange, Red, Yellow, a 1961 painting from the Pincus collection, which garnered $77.5 million last year after a high estimate of $45 million (over $86.8 million with the buyer's premium – a record for Rothko – on 8 May 2012, Christie’s New York). The work Untitled (No. 11) being sold by Christie’s this time, with an estimate range of $25-35 million, is earlier (1957) and not as large (201.9 x 177.2 cm compared with the 236.2 cm x 206.4 cm of Orange, Red, Yellow). Competition should be just as fierce because Rothko's major paintings are keenly sought-after all over the world (Europe, the US, Russia, China and the Middle East).
Another key lot is Andy Warhol's 1962 bottle of Coca-Cola (176.2 x 137.2 cm). The epoch and the subject make this painting the ultimate symbol of Pop art. It is estimated at between $40 and 60 million… Coca-Cola could thus very well change the composition of the Top 3 Warhol hammer prices.
The third flagship piece, the largest and the only one capable of pushing Warhol into second place at this sale, is a triptych by Francis Bacon measuring nearly two metres by one metre fifty. On the market for the first time ever, this exceptional piece painted in 1969 was exhibited at the Grand Palais and the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf in 1971-1972. The estimate has not been made public, but his previous record was $77 million for a 1976 triptych, sold in 2008 at Sotheby's (Triptych, $86.28 million with the buyer's premium, 14 May 2008, New York).