Written By Mary Mumbua 📝
The renowned 1964 silk-screen image of Marilyn Monroe by pop artist Andy Warhol sold for $195 million (Sh22.6 billion) at auction on Monday, setting a new record for an American artist’s work sold at auction.
“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” is one in a series of portraits Warhol made of the actress following her death in 1962 and has since become one of pop art’s best-known pieces.
It was auctioned at Christie’s in New York from the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann. Estimates for the pre-sale had topped $200 million (Sh23billion).
The picture fetched $170 million at auction. The total cost was $195 million after fees.
The sale shattered the previous auction record of $110.5 million set in 2017 for a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1982.
“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop,” Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s, said in a statement announcing the auction.
“The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th century art and culture.”
The painting is built on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film “Niagara,” screened with bright colors over her eyes, hair and lips.
Its title refers to an incident in which a woman shot at a stack of four Marilyn portraits in Warhol’s studio with a pistol, although “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” was not struck by a bullet.
Monroe was one of Hollywood’s best-known stars before her death of an overdose at her home in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, 1962.
Warhol died in 1987.