Those fortunate enough to see this large painting in person have acclaimed the amazement that overcame them on witnessing the size and vibrant colours found within Untitled (Red). The artist's reduction of detail down to the most abstract of forms has been compared to the earlier work of Turner and Friedrich who themselves were groundbreaking for their respective periods. Rothko carefully tweaks the pigments between the two main areas of colour, but is far more carefree when it comes to the edges of each, happy to allow them to bleed into the background tones behind. This piece was actually produced on paper before being transferred to canvas for the process of hanging. When viewing this painting in person you will understand more about how these abstract forms were used to teach us about space and depth, a lesson that cannot really be learnt without being there in front of these huge artworks.
The colour red would become one of the most important tones used by Rothko, and can be seen again in some of his other famous paintings such as No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), Light Red over Black, Orange, Red, Yellow and also Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red). In fact, there was even a theatre show titled Red which focused on his life and achievements. He would however vary the reds across these different paintings in order to achieve all manner of different results. Another technique was to alter the size and number of the shapes in his Color Field paintings, though in this case he chose a simpler two shape layout, with them both being approximately the same size. Elsewhere he would go up to four or five slimmer shapes, perhaps alternating tone much more widely as with some of the other paintings listed in this paragraph.
This painting was placed on auction at Sotheby's in 2019 and was given a pre-auction estimate of $7,000,000 — 10,000,000, eventually realised an impressive $8,237,000. This was not surprising considering some of the extraordinary prices received by some of the artist's other paintings in recent years and he has proved to be a sensible investment for a number of high profile private collectors. The sale was based at the company's New York branch, which was entirely appropriate for an artist who achieved so much within this city. Interestingly, the auction house actually listed the piece under the name of Untitled (Red on Red), so that can certainly be considered an alternative title for this piece. They listed it as being sized at 38 3/4 by 25 in. 98.4 by 63.5 cm, with a completion date of 1969, by which time Rothko would have been working in this style for around two decades.