A Mark Rothko painting from the collection of Microsoft founder and billionaire Paul Allen fetched $56.2 million at a Phillips sale that tallied $132 million in New York.
From 1955, Rothko's "Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange)” made up 43% percent of the evening sale's total, which comes at the end of the contemporary art auctions. The sale series generated about $1.9 billion at the top auction houses, up from $1.5 billion last year.
The painting carried an estimate of $50 million to $60 million, and was guaranteed to sell. It sold for $34.2 million at Christie’s in 2007, according to the painting's stand-alone catalog.
“Bold and assertive, this painting’s luminescence—as in all the greatest of Rothko’s paintings—appears to stem forth not from the surface of the canvas but from some other, mystical space deep within its very fibers,” stated the catalog.
A younger crowd came out for the Phillips sale, reports Bloomberg, with the skybox populated by actor Leonardo diCaprio and art dealer Hillel "Helly" Nahmad, who was sentenced this month to prison for his role in a high-stakes gambling ring.