“Warhol’s 1964 silk-screen image of Marilyn Monroe, ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’, created after the film star’s death two years earlier, has become the most expensive piece of 20th-century art ever sold following its auction on Monday for $170m plus fees, taking the final price to $195m.
The previous record was set in 2015 when a 1955 painting by Pablo Picasso – ‘Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)’ – sold for $179.4m.
It has also become the most expensive work by an American artist to be sold at auction. The record was previously held by a 1982 skull painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Warhol’s sometime friend, collaborator and rival, which sold for $110.5m in 2017.
According to reports, the buyer was Larry Gagosian, a US art dealer and owner of a chain of galleries. ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ is one in a series of portraits Warhol made of Monroe after her death.
The sale of the 40in by 40in-work at Christie’s also smashed Warhol’s previous record. That had been held by ‘Silver car crash (Double disaster) (in 2 parts)’ (1963), which sold for $105.4m in 2013.
Christie’s said the proceeds of the sale would go to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation, based in Zurich, which works to establish healthcare and education programmes for children around the world.”