Rothko's "No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)" sold for $75.1 million at Sotheby's in New York on Nov. 13. The Rothko was consigned by Anne Marion, owner of Burnett Cos. in Fort Worth, Texas, whose husband, John L. Marion, had been Sotheby's chairman and chief auctioneer.
The painting was among eight pieces selected by Rothko for his solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1954. In 1982, Ben Heller, a major collector and private dealer of Abstract Expressionism, sold the Rothko for less than $500,000.