Andy Warhol's Monroe Art-Piece Sells For Hundreds Of Millions

By Pamela Glass | Saturday, 14 May 2022 05:15

Pop artist Andy Warhol's renowned 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe sold for $195 million at an auction on Monday, setting the record for a work by an American artist sold at auction.

The famed "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" is one in a series of portraits Warhol made of the actress following her passing in 1962 and has since become one of pop art's best-known pieces. Held in the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann, it was sold by Christie's at an auction in New York. Thomas, a noted art dealer and collector, died of AIDS-related complications in 1993; his sister Doris took over the gallery and ran it until her death last year. All of the sale’s proceeds will go to the foundation, which is devoted to healthcare and educational programs.

Dealer Larry Gagosian, who was in the room, was the winning bidder. Pre-sale estimates reached as high as a whooping $200 million.

The sale shattered the previous record for an American artwork at auction of $110.5 million set in 2017 for a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. "'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn' is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop," Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie's, decalred in a statement announcing the auction. "The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th century art and culture." The painting is based on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film "Niagara," screened with bright colors over her eyes, hair and lips.

Its title refers to an incident in which a woman shot at a stack of four Marilyn portraits in Warhol's studio with a pistol, however, "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" was not struck by a bullet.

Monroe was one of Hollywood's best-known stars before her death of an overdose at her home in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, 1962.