Pop artist Andy Warhol’s famed 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe sold for USD 195 mln (EUR 184,7 mln) at auction on Monday, setting a new record for a piece by an American artist sold at auction.
“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” is one in a series of portraits Warhol made of the actress following her death in 1962 and has since become one of pop art’s best-known pieces.
Held in the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann, it was sold by Christie's Auction House in New York for a hammer price of USD 170 mln (EUR 161 mln) plus additional fees of USD 25 mln.
The record-breaking sale
The sale broke the previous record for an American artwork
at auction of USD 110.5 mln (EUR 104.7 mln) set in 2017 for a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. It also beat the previous record for a 20th century work
, Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers,” which brought USD 179.4 mln (EUR 169.6 mln) in 2015.
“We did sell the most expensive painting of the 20th century. I am very proud of that… I think everyone is very proud of that. This is a big achievement that is not on me, but just on Warhol and Marilyn
… 20th-century works of art, American works of art, it is the highest price ever paid, close to USD 200 mln. Let it sink in. It is quite something,” Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s, said.
The painting is built on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film “Niagara,”
screened with bright colours over her eyes, hair and lips.
Its title refers to an incident in which a woman shot at a stack of four Marilyn portraits in Warhol’s studio with a pistol, although “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” was not struck by a bullet.
Monroe was one of Hollywood’s best-known stars
before her death following an overdose at her home in Los Angeles on August 4, 1962.
Andy Warhol was a versatile artist and the most famous in the pop art scene. He was best known for his simple and serial compositions with high colour contrast, for which he used the serigraph technique. His art often depicted consumer products from the average American fridge. The artist died in 1987.