Vincent van Gogh and Rothko paintings could fetch $40M each at New York auction

Vincent van Gogh The Allee of Alyscamps and Rothko's Untitled (Yellow and Blue) are going on the auction block at Sotheby's in New York on May 5.

Important paintings are going on the auction block at Sotheby's in New York on May 5

Employees of Sotheby's auction house pose with Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh's L'Allee des Alyscamps, or The Allee of Alyscamps, painted in 1888 which is estimated to sell for $40 million US at auction in New York. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

A late Vincent van Gogh landscape and a 1954 work by Mark Rothko from the collection of Rachel "Bunny" Mellon are going on the auction block next month.

Van Gogh's The Allee of Alyscamps from 1888 could sell for more than $40 million at Sotheby's on May 5. (All figures in US dollars.)

The lush autumnal scene was created during a two-month period when the artist was working side-by-side with his friend Paul Gauguin in Arles, in the south of France.

The painting shows a cypress-lined promenade of the Alyscamps, an ancient Roman burial ground that by 1888 had become a popular lover's lane.

Sotheby's said only two works from van Gogh's mature period, from 1888 to 1890, appeared at auction last year. Van Gogh died in 1890.

The current record for the Dutch artist is $82.5 million for his Portrait of Dr. Gachet, set in 1990.

Rothko to go on the block

A gallery technician makes adjustments to the hanging of Mark Rothko's Untitled (Yellow and Blue), executed in 1954. (Mary Turner/Getty Images for Sotheby's)
The auction house also is offering Rothko's Untitled (Yellow and Blue) on May 12.

The 8-foot tall abstract painting of large yellow and blue planes is estimated to bring between $40 million to $60 million.

It was acquired by Mellon directly from Rothko's estate shortly after his death in 1970 and exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for 10 years. The heir to the Listerine fortune and widow of philanthropist Paul Mellon died in 2013.

The current Rothko record is $86.9 million for his Orange, Red, Yellow, set in 2012.


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