At the time of Mark Rothko's apparent suicide in 1970, the deeply troubled, pioneering artist of Abstract Expressionism was at the height of fame and financial success; yet within months of the funeral, his three trusted friends, acting as executors, relinquished his entire legacy of 800 paintings to the powerful, international Marlborough Galleries (run by Frank Lloyd) for a fraction of their real worth on terms suspiciously unfavorable to the estate. The suit that Rothko's daughter brought against the executors and Marlborough rocked the art world with its shocking revelations of corruption in the international art trade: from the deceptions practiced on Rothko when he was alive to the scandals after his death involving conspiracies and cover-ups, double dealings and betrayals, missing paintings and manipulated markets, phony sales and laundered profits, forgery and fraud.
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Lee Seldes, a former writer for Newsweek, Barron's, The Village Voice, and Esquire, and the only journalist to cover the entire Rothko trial, has substantially updated her definitive account to examine: the recent lives of key participants, including Frank Lloyd's criminal conviction; the ways in which the highly publicized trial over Andy Warhol's estate echoed the Rothko verdict; and the fate of the paintings for which Rothko lived—and died.
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