After being auctioned for $195 million (£158.17 million), a classic painting of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol has become the most expensive piece of 20th-century art ever sold.
It’s also the highest money ever paid for an American work of art.
Christie’s noted in advance of the auction in New York that the painting is “one of the rarest and most sublime images in existence,” with a selling price “in the range” of $200 million.
According to reports…
The buyer was Larry Gagosian, an American art dealer, and gallery owner. After Monroe’s death, Warhol painted a series of portraits of her, including Shot Sage Blue Marilyn.
The Christie’s sale of the 40in by 40in-work also broke Warhol’s previous record. Silver automobile crash Double tragedy in 2 parts 1963, which sold for $105.4 million in 2013, had previously held the record.
“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is the apex of American pop,” said Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th and 21st-century art. “The painting goes beyond portraiture, transcending twentieth-century art and culture.”
Shot Sage Blue Marilyn had been held in the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann. Earlier this year, George Frei, the chairman of the board of the Thomas and Doris Amman Foundation, said the painting “bears witness to [Monroe’s] undiminished visual power in the new millennium”.
He added: “Marilyn the woman is gone; the terrible circumstances of her life and death are forgotten. All that remains is the enigmatic smile that links her to another mysterious smile of a distinguished lady, the Mona Lisa.”
Marilyn Monroe starred in 29 films, including Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She died of an overdose in her Los Angeles home in 1962, at the age of 36, hailed as a “sex symbol” and fashion star. Warhol passed away in 1987.
The revenues of the auction will benefit the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zurich, which strives to build healthcare and education programs for children all around the world, according to Christie’s.
Experts claim that demand for 20th-century art is at an all-time high. Sotheby’s will auction the remaining 30 works in the Macklowe collection on May 16, including an unseen Rothko and one of Warhol’s final self-portraits.