Shot Sage Blue Marilyn Painting: An iconic portrait of American star Marilyn Monroe was auctioned Monday at Christie’s for $195 million, making it the most expensive artwork of the 20th century ever sold at a public auction. “Shot Sage Blue Merlin”, produced in 1964, two years after the death of the glamorous Hollywood star, sold for $195.04 million including fees in just four minutes in a crowded room at Christie’s headquarters in Manhattan.
According to Christie’s, prior to the sale, the picture was estimated to be worth around $200 million. Despite falling just short of that threshold, it beat the previous record for a 20th-century work, before Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” sold for $179.4 million in 2015.
The all-time record for any work of art from any period sold at auction is held by Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, which sold for $450.3 million in November 2017. Andy Warhol’s silk-screen work is part of a group of his paintings of Marilyn Monroe, which became known as the “Shots” series after a visitor to the Manhattan studio known as “The Factory”, apparently Apparently a gun was fired at him.
— Christie’s (@ChristiesInc) May 10, 2022
In a statement, Christie’s described the 40-inch by 40-inch portrait as “one of the rarest and most outstanding images to exist”. Alex Rotter, head of 20th and 21st century art at Christie’s, called the painting “the most important painting of the 20th century to be auctioned in a generation”.
“Andy Warhol’s Marilyn is the absolute pinnacle of American pop and the promise of the American Dream blends optimism, fragility, celebrity and iconography,” he said in a statement. After the actress died of a drug overdose in August 1962 at the age of only 36, Andy Warhol began to silkscreen Marilyn Monroe.
In 1964 the pop artist created five paintings of Marilyn Monroe, which were similar in size with different colored backgrounds. According to pop-art folklore, four of them gained notoriety as a female performance artist.
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