Russian American painter, Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow oil canvas painted in 1961 broke the world auction record for any contemporary artwork selling for a staggering £53.86 million.
Artworks by Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock, Yves Klein and Alexander Calder also smashed Christie's auction records at the New York sale. A total of 56 lots were sold fetching a total of £240.79 million at the blockbuster sale.
Thus, with this auction, the May 2007 contemporary art sale of £238.44 million was broken.
"The market really responded," Reuters quoted Brett Gorvy, Christie's international head of post-war and contemporary art saying. "It's a very knowledgeable market, a very sophisticated market. Complete global market bidding as well as incredibly strong American bidding was evident. We saw very seasoned collectors, as well as new collectors coming forward."
The New York Times reported that the sale was the first of three back-to-back postwar and contemporary art auctions this week, and in just two hours of sky's-the-limit bidding, new price levels were hit every few minutes. Fresh material from celebrated collections made the difference. But beyond that, as Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's, put it, "this is the most popular collecting category we have globally, with the richest and deepest number of buyers."
Apart from this, Yves Klein's FC1 (Fire Color 1) set a world auction record for the artist selling for £22,619,150 while Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (798-3), oil on canvas, painted in 1993 fetched £13,522,510. All the six Richters paintings offered at the auction house on 8 May, 2012 were sold.
According to Reuters, other artists setting records included Jeff Wall, Josef Albers, Vija Celmins and Sherrie Levin. The record for Calder, known for mobile sculptures, was broken twice at the sale, with a standing mobile "Lily of Force" fetching £11.5 million.
According to some art analysts, although the artworks were priced aggressively, the appetite for top-quality works of contemporary art appeared powerful.
Last week, Edvard Munch's The Sream fetched an astounding £74.37 million at Sotheby's auction of post-war and contemporary art.