Mark Rothko's 'No. 10' sells for $82 million in NY

A visitor walks through the Mark Rothko Center in Daugavpils, Latvia, a museum in the hometown of the artist whose painting "No. 10" sold for $81.92 million at an auction of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's on May 13, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ilmars Znotins)

New York (AFP) - A painting by abstract expressionist Mark Rothko sold for close to $82 million, auction house Christie's said, one day after another of his masterpieces fetched a hefty sum in New York.

Rothko's "No. 10" sold for $81.92 million at an auction of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's Wednesday, nearly twice its estimated value.

The sale fell short of the most-ever paid for one of his works: $86.88 million for "Orange, Red, Yellow," which sold in 2012.

"No. 10" was one of several works auctioned Wednesday, with German-British Lucian Freud's "Benefits Supervisor Resting" oil of a full-figured nude woman sleeping on a sofa fetching $56.16 million.

Pop art icon Andy Warhol's exuberant "Colored Mona Lisa," silkscreen inks and graphite on canvas, earned the same amount.

The haul for Rothko's "No. 10," an oil work of deep and rich shades of red, follows another sale on Tuesday of his "Untitled, (Yellow and Blue)," which earned $46.5 million at Sotheby's in New York.

Earlier this week, a Picasso masterpiece and a Giacometti statue smashed world records for the most expensive art sold at auction, fetching more than $179 million and $141 million respectively.

Rothko, who died in 1970, became a giant of the modern art world through his characteristic style: a seemingly simple but arresting juxtaposition of blocks of color.