Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn’ sold for $ 195 million, setting an American record

The woman photographed Andy Warhol’s ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ during Christie’s 20th and 21st Century Art Review at Christie’s New York City on April 29, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP via Getty Images)

Angela Weiss | Afp | Getty Images

A 1964 portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol sold for $ 195 million at Christie’s on Monday night, becoming the most expensive work of art in American art ever sold.

Price suggests that the art market, at least at a very high level, is largely holding on to the pressures of falling inventories and rising interest rates. Christie’s and Sotheby’s plan to sell works of art worth more than $ 2 billion over the next two weeks, and the historic price for “Marilyn” could boost wealth buyers ’confidence in other works.

Although just below the $ 200 million estimate and well below the whispering $ 250 million to $ 300 million that many dealers had hoped for, the sale is still seen as a vote of confidence in art as a long-term storehouse of value amid volatile market cycles. Buyer not identified.

“This shows that quality and scarcity will always push the market forward,” said Andrew Fabricant, chief operating officer of Gagosian Gallery and a top retailer of the rich. “It will psychologically stimulate everyone’s thinking.”

Marilyn, known as “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” was one of five versions in different color schemes painted by Warhol in 1964, two years after Marilyn Monroe’s death. With their bright colors and stunning expression, the portraits have become some of Warhol’s most famous and well-known paintings. The orange version was recently sold to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin for more than $ 200 million.

“It’s Mount Everest of its era,” Fabricant said. “Everyone in the world when these paintings were created knew the story of Marilyn Monroe, the epic loss and the epic achievement. Warhol himself began to become an icon. So these are two icons at their height.”

The portraits were made according to Monroe’s promotional photo from the movie “Niagara”. The portraits became even more famous when, shortly after they were completed, a woman entered the Warhol factory studio with a gun and shot at a bunch of four of them. The “sage blue” painting escaped damaged, and the others were repaired. But the shooting added to their appeal and became part of their headlines.

The version sold on Monday was owned by a Swiss family of art dealers, Ammanns, which has owned it since the early 1980s. The proceeds will go to charity. The Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zurich has announced that it will use the funds to support health and education programs for children around the world.

In addition to breaking the record for the most expensive work of art American art ever sold at auction, it is the second most expensive work of art ever sold at auction, behind Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold at Christie’s 2017 for $ 450 million and up Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger,” which sold for $ 179 million in 2015.

Unlike most overpriced works sold at auction, “Marilyn” is not sold with a warranty, which is the minimum price at which a third party or auction house agrees to buy the work. Traders say sellers wanted to maximize charitable income, and guarantees usually require sellers to waive a portion of the price above the guaranteed amount.

“This was a chance once in a generation,” Fabricant said. – Pieces like this just don’t come that often.

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