Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe Portrait Goes on the Block for $200 Million

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Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe’s iconic Andy Warhol silkscreen portrait heads to Christie’s in New York for $ 200 million later this spring. This is the record asking price for the artwork at the auction.

A 1964 3-foot-square silkscreen depicts a promotional photo of the actress’s movie “Niagara.” The artist turned the actress into a pop art icon by setting a balloon gum pink face, ruby ​​lips, and a blue eyeshadow on a sage blue background. This work is part of a series of signatures on the portrait of “Shot Marilyn”, which became famous after a visitor with a gun fired a shot at a pile of canvas in the artist’s studio in 1964.

The seller of this “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” version is a foundation named after the famous Zurich dealer Doris Amman, who died last year at the age of 76, and his brother Thomas, who helped sell and catalog the officials. A list of Warhol’s works before Amman died in 1993.

If successful, this example breaks the artist’s current auction record of $ 105.4 million, set nine years before Sotheby’s sold the 1963 “Silver Car Collision (Double Disaster).” increase. However, potential bidders will have to spend much more to outperform the personal sale of Warhol’s work. In 2017, hedge fund billionaire Kenneth paid real estate to publish at least $ 200 million in the orange version of the same “Shot Marilyn” series, according to people familiar with the deal.

Andy Warhol was exhibited at the 1971 exhibition, turning Marilyn Monroe into a pop art icon.


PA Images / Getty Images

Coming sales will test the vibrancy of the global art marketplace, following strong sales for several months. Despite the war in Ukraine, auction houses say collectors are more and more confident in putting record prices on their art trophies for sale.

Warhol collectors will also follow this sale closely. The artist produced about 8,000 paintings and sculptures between 1952 and his death in 1987. His work is very consistently auctioned at about 200 pieces a year and is the bell of the entire art market.

Christie’s will auction “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” in New York on Monday in all theatrical frenzy that invested $ 100 in Leonardo da Vinci’s $ 450.3 million “savior” five years ago. Said that. One million asking price.

“This painting symbolizes everything that concerns us about the 20th century. Her face shows all its beauty and tragedy,” says Christie’s 20th and 21st century art. Alex Rotter, chairman of the division, said at a press conference on the sale. “Whenever a picture like this comes to the market, it changes the market, not just Warhol.”

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Dealers say it’s been years since the upper reaches of Warhol’s market underwent extensive testing. Meanwhile, his market excellence has been challenged by young artists he admired, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. In another example, it is estimated to sell for $ 70 million at Philips in May this year. Still, Warhol’s signature examples are on the market, including last fall when Sotheby’s sold a approximately 7-foot-high silkscreen from the Henry and Linda McCrow collection for $ 47.4 million in 1962. When they left, the collectors were happy to make a fuss. ..

According to Christie’s, the inside story of “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” could add more luster to Warhol and justify the higher asking price.

Warhol created five star silkscreens in this particular “Marilyn” series and tried out new screen printing techniques he developed and used only for this set: red, orange, blue, sage blue, respectively. Gave different backgrounds such as turquoise. .. After finding performance artist Dorothy Podbar piled up on the walls of Warhol’s studio in 1964 and asking if she could shoot them, the group became a source of artistic folklore. .. Warhol agreed that he would take a picture of his work. Instead, she took out a gun and fired at a pile of “Marilyn” works in Warhol’s East 47th Street Studio, known as the factory.

Warhol expelled the destroyer and repaired the damaged red and blue pieces. Others, including this sage blue version, remained intact. Still, the infamy of the case turned these “shot marilyns” into the coveted plums of some of the biggest buyers in the art world. Owners of other examples of “Shot Marilyn” work include newspaper executive Peter Brandt, who stated that he paid $ 5,000 for the light blue version in 1967. With a slump. In 2007, Chicago collector Stefan Edlis sold the turquoise version to hedge fund manager Steven Cohen for $ 80 million.

According to Christie’s, Amman and his brother Thomas purchased this sage blue version from Newhouse. For many years, it has been exhibited at museums such as Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Pompidou Center in Paris, and Tate in London. The Ammans Foundation, formed as part of Amman’s property and supervised by her gallery partner George Fly, said it plans to donate all proceeds from Warhol for charitable purposes to help children. rice field.

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