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Rothko painting sets postwar record at Sotheby's in New York

The record price for postwar art was broken twice at a Sotheby's auction, first with a Francis Bacon work and later with a Mark Rothko painting, which went for almost $73 million, the auction house said.

The 1950 Rothko painting, "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)," of blocks of color, sold for $72.8 million (EURU 53.77 million) Tuesday to an anonymous bidder, Sotheby's said.

Shortly before, a 1962 Bacon painting of a pope, "Study from Innocent X," sold to an anonymous bidder for $52.6 million (EURO 38.85 million).

The previous record was held by a 1977 Willem de Kooning work of swaths of bright colors called "Untitled XXV," which sold for $27 million (EURO 19.94 million) at a Christie's auction last November, Sotheby's said.

Another work, an untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1981, sold Tuesday for $14.6 million (EURO 10.78 million), setting an auction record for the artist.

The sale prices include the buyer's premium.