The Marilyn Monroe portrait by Andy Warhol fetched US$ 195 million on Monday at the auction house Christie's in New York. The 1964 silk-screen portrait is one in a series of portraits that the artist made of Marilyn Monroe, following her death. It was held in the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann.
Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by the pop artist is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop, according to Alex Rotter, Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art at Christie's.
Warhol painted it soon after Monroe's 1962 death with an barbiturate overdose, and is part of a series of five portraits of Monroe he painted which became known as the Shot series. The nickname was born when a visitor to Warhol's Factory studio in Manhattan fired a gun at them, piercing the portraits which were later repaired.
The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, Rotter continued, superseding 20th century art and culture. Standing alongside Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, and Picasso's Les Demoiselle d'Avignon, Warhol's Marilyn is one of the greatest paintings of all time.
The 1964 silk-screen Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is a universally recognized image burned into the collective conscience — the modern Mona Lisa, according to the Christie's website.
When Sam Hunter included Shot Sage Blue Marilyn on the cover of his seminal textbook, Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Warhol's portrait became one of modern art's most familiar icons.
Marilyn is a Masterpiece, not bound to time or place, Christie's said ahead of the auction set to take place on Monday evening
The work comes from the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zurich. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world.
The current record price for a 20th century painting is the US$ 179.4 million paid for Picasso's Women of Algiers in 2015. Meanwhile, the most expensive Warhol painting is ”Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)”, which fetched US$ 104.5 million in 2013.