The portraits of Marilyn Monroe made by Andy Warhol are all iconic and it is no surprise that one of them has just been sold for an astronomical sum. Monday, May 9 in New York, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn was sold at auction for 195 million dollars and became the work of art of the XXè most expensive century in the world, beating the previous record which was attributed to a painting by Pablo Picasso, The women of Algierssold at auction for $179.4 million in 2015. But the painting did not dethrone Salvator Mundiattributed to Leonardo da Vinci, which holds the absolute record (all eras combined) and was bought for 450 million dollars in 2017.
Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, made in 1964 by Andy Warhol and depicting Marilyn Monroe on a blue background, found a buyer less than four minutes after the start of the sale. 180 participants gathered for the occasion, including François Pinault, owner of Christie’s. Auction house specialist Alex Rotter told the New York Times : “We have sold the most expensive painting of the XXand century. It is a great success”. “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is the absolute pinnacle of American pop. This painting transcends the genre of portraiture, supplanting the art and culture of the 20è century. Next to The birth of Venus by Botticelli, by Mona Lisa da Vinci and The Lady of Avignon of Picasso, Warhol’s Marilyn is one of the greatest paintings of all time,” he added, confirming Christie’s statement that this piece is “one of the rarest and most transcendental ones that exist”. Before the sale, the price of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn had been estimated at nearly 200 million US dollars. According to the American press, the buyer is the famous New York gallerist Larry Gagosian. However, it is not yet known whether he was acting on his own behalf or on that of a client.
All profits from the sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn will be donated to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zurich, which works to establish health care and education programs for children around the world.