Schlumberger Collection Could Break $85 Million

Mark Rothko's No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) (1953), an oil on canvas from the Schlumberger Collection, is offered with estimate "on request," but experts say it could fetch upwards of $50 million.
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's.

The hits keep coming as fall auction season continues to heat up. Sotheby’s announced it will sell the storied collection of famous 1980s jet-setters, Pierre and São Schlumberger, at its upcoming sales of Impressionist and modern and contemporary art this November. The collection includes blue chip works by such masters as Picasso, Mark Rothko, John Chamberlain and Adolph Gottlieb, to name a few. In all, more than 90 works with an overall estimate of more than $85 million will be offered.

Among the expected stars is Rothko’s No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) (1951), which, though immediately identifiable as Rothko , differs somewhat from the lone, floating blocks of colors that have soared to the top of contemporary auctions in recent years. The work, which was first exhibited at MoMA’s “15 Americans” show in 1952, was painted during “a pioneering period for the artist when he was exploring the very limits of abstraction,” according to Sotheby’s. The estimate is unpublished but sources say it could bring a price in excess of $50 million.

Property from the Schlumberger Collection John Chamberlain Mr. Moto painted, metal-flaked and chromium-plated steel 75 by 81 by 58.4 cm; 29½ by 32 by 23 in. Executed in 1963. Est. $1.8/2.5 million

Property from the Schlumberger Collection
John Chamberlain, Mr. Moto (Executed in 1963)
Estimate: $1.8–2.5 million.
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Also on offer is Gottlieb’s dynamic Red and Blue, from his series of Burst paintings (estimate: $2–3 million), Ad Reinhardt’s Abstract Painting, Blue (estimate: $5–7 million), and John Chamberlain’s pressed metal sculpture Mr. Moto (1963) which is estimated at $1.8–2.5 million (above). Other artists represented in the collection include Alexander Calder, Morris Louis, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.

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