“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn”, a painting executed in 1964 by Andy Warhol, two years after the tragic death of the glamorous Hollywood icon, was sold at auction on Monday for 195 million dollars.
A famous portrait of Marilyn Monroe by American pop art master Andy Warhol sold for $195 million at Christie’s on Monday night in New York, becoming the most expensive 20th-century work of art ever sold at public auction .
“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn”, a painting executed in 1964, two years after the tragic death of the glamorous Hollywood icon, sold in four minutes at the exact price of 195.04 million dollars, including expenses, in a room crowded from the headquarters of Christie’s, in the heart of Manhattan.
The most expensive 20th century work of art ever sold at public auction
Dozens of Christie’s intermediaries were also in the auction room, hanging on their phones to take orders from buyers. The auction house, owned by the very large French fortune François Pinault, clarified during a brief press conference that the offer which had won the “Marilyn” had been made from the room. Pre-sale estimates hovered around $200 million.
This portrait of Marilyn Monroe beats the previous record for a 20th century work, “The Women of Algiers (version 0)” by Pablo Picasso, sold at auction for $179.4 million in May 2015, and the “Nu couchant” of Amedeo Modigliani (170.4 million in November 2015).
The absolute record, all periods combined, for a sale of a work of art at auction is held by Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, sold in November 2017 for 450.3 million dollars. The auction record for a Warhol belonged to “Silver Car Crash (double disaster)”, a monumental canvas depicting a car accident, which sold for $105 million in 2013.
Painted in silkscreen ink and acrylics, “Shot Sage Blue Marylin” is one of five meter-by-meter portraits of vivid, saturated, contrasting colors that the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-born but established in New York, had made in 1964 from a photo for the promotion of the film niagara in 1953. Pink face, blond hair and pronounced lipstick, the actress reveals an enigmatic smile, on a turquoise blue background.