Warhol’s Marilyn portrait sells for world record $195m

Silk-screen of Hollywood screen icon beats record set for 20th-century work by Picasso’s Women of Algiers in 2015.

a woman takes a photo of Andy Warhol's 'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn' during Christie's 20th and 21st Century Art press preview at Christie's New York
Andy Warhol's Shot Sage Blue Marilyn broke the record for the highest price for a 20th-century artwork at auction [Angela Weiss / AFP]

Pop artist Andy Warhol’s famed 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe has sold for $195m, becoming the most expensive 20th-century artwork ever sold at a public auction.

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is one of a series of portraits Warhol made of the actress following her death in 1962 and has become one of pop art’s best-known pieces.

It sold for exactly $195.04 million, including fees, in just four minutes in a crowded room at Christie’s headquarters in New York on Monday. Its estimate was $200m.

“‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop,” Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s, said in a statement announcing the auction. “The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th century art and culture.”

The sale beat the previous record for a 20th-century work, Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers, which sold for $179.4m in 2015.

Warhol based the work on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film Niagara, laying bright colours over her eyes, hair and lips.

Warhol died in 1987.

Source: News Agencies