Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe painting sells for record-breaking £157.8m at auction

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is one of the many paintings Warhol made after Monroe died in 1962

Peony Hirwani
Tuesday 10 May 2022 09:23 BST
Warhol’s portrait of the Queen

Andy Warhol’s 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe has been auctioned for a record-breaking $195m (£157.8m).

The painting, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, is one of the many paintings in the series Warhol made of Monroe after she died of a barbiturate overdose in 1962.

Warhol’s painting was held in the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann and auctioned at The Christie’s in New York on Monday, 9 May.

The pre-sale estimates of the painting were as high as $200m.

The painting was sold for a hammer price of $170m to US art dealer Larry Gagosian, according to Bloomberg. Additional fees such as a buyer’s price gave it the final value of $195m.

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is the absolute pinnacle of American pop,” Alex Rotter, the chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s, said in a statement announcing the auction. “The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th-century art and culture.”

The sale beat the record for a 20th-century artwork, Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers, which sold for $179.4m in 2015.

According to Christie’s, all the proceeds of the sale will go to the Switzerland-based Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich, which works to establish healthcare and education programmes for children around the world.

Warhol painted this piece based on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film Niagara.

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