What Makes Mark Rothko’s Paintings So Valuable?

Mark Rothko’s paintings are simple yet complex paintings that continue to fetch high value and record prices worldwide at auctions. The appeal of his art continues to draw in art collectors from across the globe.

Mark Rothko’s paintings are valuable and in high demand; they continue to fetch record prices around the globe. At first glance, the paintings may look simple, but they are very complex upon a closer look. Mark Rothko’s paintings are meant to evoke our emotions when we view them; we should feel some emotions and be transported to another realm.

Some Reason’s Why Mark Rothko’s Paintings Are Valuable

It is hard to define precisely what makes one artist’s painting much more valuable than another. Mark Rothko is one of those artists that continue to have paintings that go up in value.

Art auctions worldwide continue to see Mark Rothko’s paintings fetch astronomical sums of money; often, his paintings are the most expensive painting sold at auction.

It is not just one or two paintings that are considered valuable, but many of his paintings continue to fetch large sums of money at auction and break records for their sale price and value.

Here is what makes Mark Rothko’s paintings so valuable on the art market:

  • Metaphysical Elements – Mark Rothko’s art of rectangular floating forms and thin washes of color have metaphysical elements to them.
  • His Painting Evoke Human Feelings – Rothko said work is about human feelings such as tragedy, ecstasy, and even doom. His paintings have these elements of human feeling buried in them. When you view an original Mark Rothko painting up close and personal, you can see the drip marks, brush strokes, and the color and painting come to life. The human touch you can see on the paintings makes them so real and personal.
  • Transformational Paintings – When viewing the paintings up close and in person, they are not just colors on a canvas, but the washes or color, brush strokes, and even drips transform you to another realm.
  • Mark Rothko Had A Disdain For Art Establment – During his lifetime, Mark Rothko was known for his disdain for the elite and the art establishment; an interesting fact because now his paintings are being sold for record amounts.
  • Life Is In The Paintings – Like many great artists, Mark Rothko’s life was marked with controversy, but many of his paintings show his emotions and life. For example, he produced a “Black paintings” series before his suicide in 1970 at age 66; his final Untitled (1970) painting is blood red.
  • Simple Yet Complex Elegance – His painting may seem simple, yet they are also complex and profound. There is a very complex kind of elegance to them.
  • Paintings In High Demand – Like anything in art, it is the supply and demand principle. People want to own Mark Rothko’s paintings and have them in their collections. The more people want to own a Mark Rothko, the more the prices of his paintings will increase in price and value..
  • Excellent Provenance – For a painting to be so valuable, it must have perfect provenance. In other words, the paintings and who owned them can be traced back to Mark Rothko, so the person buying them knows it is not a copy or a fake.

Like many other great Abstract Expressionism artists, the paintings are valuable as they are paintings that collectors, museums, and others want to own. That is why Mark Rothko’s paintings broke sales records when sold at auctions worldwide.

In his own words, Mark Rothko said this about these paintings and how we should view them:

“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.”

Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko’s Paintings And Their Value

Many of Mark Rothko’s paintings sell for record numbers at auctions worldwide. Not just one painting sells for a record number, but many of them are.

Below is a list of Mark Rothko paintings and the record amount of dollars they were sold for:

No 7, (1951) By Mark Rothko
  • No 7, (1951) By Mark Rothko – Part of the Harry and Linda Macklowe Collection. This painting was sold for a record 82,460,000 USD to an unidentified Asian Buyer in November 2021.
No 6 (Violet, Green, and Red – 1951) By Mark Rothko
  • No 6 (Violet, Green, and Red – 1951) By Mark Rothko – was sold in 2014 for 140,000.000 Euro or over 184,000,000 USD.
Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) by Mark Rothko
  • Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) by Mark Rothko – Sold for 86,900,000 USD by Christie’s in New York City in May 2012.
No 10, (1958) By Mark Rothko
  • No 10, (1958) By Mark Rothko – Sold for 81,900,000 USD also sold by Christie’s; this painting surpassed its 45,000,000 USD estimate.
No 1 (Royal, Red, and Blue – 1954) By Mark Rothko
  • No 1 (Royal, Red, and Blue – 1954) By Mark Rothko – Sold for 72,000,000 USD by Sotheby’s in New York City in November 2012.
White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose – 1950) By Mark Rothko
  • White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose – 1950) By Mark Rothko – Sold for72,800,000 USD by Sotheby’s in May 2007.
Untitled, 1952 by Mark Rothko
  • Untitled, 1952 by Mark Rothko – Sold for 66,200,000 USD by Christie’s in New York in May 2014.

Worldwide, Mark Rothko’s paintings continue to fetch record prices at auctions. The fact that so many are selling this way shows the value that art dealers, collectors, and museums see in the value of owning and having a Mark Rothko painting.

Anita Louise Art is dedicated to art education, great artists, and inspiring others to find and create their art. We love art that uplifts and inspires. #ArtToMakeYouSmile! #ArtToMakeYouHappy!

If you are interested to see any of my art, you can find out more by clicking here. If you are interested in what inspires me and my paintings, you can discover more by clicking here.

We have a free newsletter and would love you to be part of our community; you can subscribe to the newsletter by clicking here. I would be happy to talk to you if you have any questions. You can reach me, Anita, by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Anita Louise Art YouTube Channel with great videos and information by clicking here.

Join us for our podcast 5 Minutes With Art.” Spend just 5 minutes a week with us to discover and learn about great art and artists. You can find out more about our podcast by clicking here.

Why Paintings Like Rothko’s No. 6 (Violet, Green, & Red) Are Expensive

Mark Rothko’s No 6 (Violet, Green, and Red – 1951) was sold in 2014 for 140,000.000 Euro or over 184,000,000 USD. A considerable amount for any painting. Many of Mark Rothko’s paintings continue to fetch record numbers at auction houses worldwide.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Why Paintings Like Rothko’s No. 6 (Violet, Green, & Red) Are Expensive.

About Homage To Matisse (1954) By Mark Rothko

One painting Mark Rothko painted in 1954 is called Homage To Matisse. This painting is labeled very differently than his other paintings, which usually are labeled with numbers and colors. But this painting was a personal tribute from Mark Rothko to the great French artist Henry Matisse and his influence on him and his artwork.

By clicking here, you can discover more by reading About Homage To Matisse (1954) By Mark Rothko.

Why Are Mark Rothko’s Paintings Considered Special?

Mark Rothko’s paintings are remarkable because they are original works of art. He is one of the founders of the abstract expressionism movement and color field painting. But more than that, he believed that his spirit lives within the art and that we, the individuals who can view his art, are taken to a different realm.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Why Are Mark Rothko’s Paintings Considered Special?.

Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

Recent Posts

What Makes Mark Rothko's Paintings So Valuable?