The No. 7 from 1954, oil on canvas 229 x 149 cm, was sold for $ 21 million including premium by Christie's in New York on November 13, 2007. It is listed again in the same auction room as lot 34 B on May 17. The press release of April 20 announces an estimate in the region of $ 30M.
No. 7 is well described by its usual subtitle that does not announce a color : Dark over Light. Another subtitle which is sometimes used is White and Black on Red. Both blocks are centered but the black upper block is wider than the white lower block. This dark part is very homogeneous in density, which is also unusual.
An exhibition plan justifies these specific characteristics.
Rothko composed his artworks very carefully but he also foresaw their respective roles. It was necessary to capture the visitor as soon as he entered the room, without his attention being attracted by ambient decorations. In 1957 in Houston, Rothko hangs this No. 7 in the first room. The visitor is attracted by the intense light emanating from its fake white window. The black block is of lesser importance and serves primarily for the contrast.
No. 7 was not the top Rothko in the November 2007 sale. A smaller but more orthodox painting from the following year had been sold for $ 34M including premium. It then fetched $ 56M including premium at Phillips on May 15, 2014.
SOLD for $ 30.7M including premium