Warhol’s ‘Marilyn’ Auction Returns $195 Million; highest for US entertainer

NEW YORK (AP) — Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” sold for a whopping $195 million on Monday, making the iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe the most expensive work of art ever. American artist never sold at auction.

The screen-printed image from 1964 shows Monroe in a vibrant close-up – yellow hair, blue eyeshadow and red lips – against a turquoise background. It is also the most expensive piece of the 20th century ever sold at auction, according to Christie’s auction house in New York, where the sale took place.

The Warhol sale dethroned former record holder and another modern master, Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose 1982 painting ‘Untitled’ of a skull-like face sold for a record $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2017.

Christie’s said an anonymous buyer made the purchase on Monday evening. When the auction was announced earlier this year, they estimated it could fetch up to $200 million.

“It’s an incredible prize,” said Alex Rotter, chair of Christie’s 20th and 21st century art department. “Let it in, that’s something.”

“That’s where we wanted to be, clearly,” said Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s. “It proves that we are in a very resilient art market.”

Proceeds from the sale will go to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zurich, which has put the painting up for auction. The foundation aims to help children with health care and educational programs.

Warhol created more than one image of Monroe; this particular painting has been exhibited in museums around the world.


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