The first lot, the work of American conceptual artist Mike Biddle, “Not Picasso (Swimsuit with a Ball on the Beach),” valued at $ 60,000 to $ 80,000, cost $ 1.3 million in royalties.
Collector Peter Brant, sitting in the third row, bought the third lot, “Fourteen Stations, no. XI ”by Francesco Clemente for $ 1.9 million, estimated at $ 80,000 to $ 120,000. Then trader Larry Gagosian bought a blue, green and purple picture of Cy Twombly on a wooden board for about $ 17 million, which is more than $ 15 million.
By comparison, the Marilyn screen print – which Rotter recently called “the most significant painting of the 20th century to come up for auction in a generation” – seemed like something like an anticlimax. Yes, she set a record, but speculation before the auction led to the painting rising to as much as $ 400 million. Instead, the auctioneer seemed to reverse the bids, and the painting ultimately went to Gagosian; it was unclear in whose name he was bidding.
“The expectations were very, very, very high,” said art advisor Abigail Asher. “It was an incredibly healthy price, but at the same time I believe the buyer got the deal. It is one of the icons of 20th century art. ”
Some wondered if the stock market’s poor performance on Monday may have dampened Marilyn’s offer. Warhol’s painting, one of five in a row, is based on a promotional photo from the actress’ film “Niagara”, part of the “Shot Marilyn” portrait series. In 1964, a woman entered the Warhol’s Factory studio with a gun and shot at a pile of four of Marilyn’s paintings. (The canvas that was auctioned at Christie’s was not pierced by a bullet.)
The Ammann brothers and sisters bought the work from media mogul SI Newhouse Jr. 1998; that year Newhouse bought Warhol’s “Orange Marilyn” (1964) at Sotheby’s for $ 17.3 million. After Newhouse’s death, in 2017, billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin bought the work privately for about $ 200 million.