A portrait of American actress Marilyn Monroe, made by pop art artist Andy Warhol, has fetched more than 184 million euros at an auction of Christie’s Auction. Never before has an American work of art fetched such a high amount at an auction.
The screen printing Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is one in a series of five identical portraits in different colors that Warhol made of Monroe. He made the portraits in 1964, two years after the actress’s death. It is one of Warhol’s best-known pop art works.
The piece is based on a photo taken of Monroe for the film Niagara from 1953 to promote. The title refers to an incident where a woman fired a gun at a stack of four Marilyn portraits in Warhol’s studio. Shot Sage Blue Marilyn was not hit by a bullet.
According to Christie’s, it is one of the most important works of art ever created. Prior to the auction, the value was estimated at almost 190 million euros. The piece belongs to a collection of Swiss art dealers. It is unknown who bought it.
Most expensive works of art
The previous record amount paid for an American artwork at an auction was more than 100 million euros. In 2017, that was paid for a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1982. The portrait of Monroe is now the second most expensive painting ever, after Salvador Mundic by Leonardo da Vinci. That brought in more than 425 million euros.
The Warhol artwork is now the most expensive piece of art of the twentieth century. That was before Les Femmes d’Alger by Pablo Picasso, which raised 170 million euros.
Marilyn Monroe was one of the most famous Hollywood actresses in the middle of the last century. She was seen as one of the first style icons and sex symbols. Monroe died of a drug overdose in her Los Angeles home in 1962. In addition to being an artist, Andy Warhol was also a film director and author. He passed away in 1987.