Andy Warhol Print of Marilyn Monroe Set to Sell at Christie's for Estimated $200 Million

© REUTERS / CARLO ALLEGRIAndy Warhol auction in New York City
Andy Warhol auction in New York City - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.03.2022
Christie’s, the British auction house best known for selling works of art, antiques and other goods to the uber rich, is selling Andy Warhol’s iconic 1964 silkscreen print of actress Marilyn Monroe for an estimated $200 million.
With a $200 million pricetag, the winning bid at that dollar amount would effectively make Warhol's “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” the most expensive 20th-century artwork to ever sell at auction.
Warhol’s previous record was set nine years ago when Sotheby’s sold his 1963 serigraph work “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” for $105.4 million. Warhol’s Marilyn piece is expected to be auctioned in New York City in May.
Born Andrew Warhola, the artist is credited as a leading figure in the mid-20th-century Pop Art movement, producing his most well known work during the 1960s. Warhol died in 1987 at 58, but the artist - who was as equally mysterious as he was famous - is still revered in the art world.
“The most significant 20th-century painting to come to auction in a generation, Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn’ is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop and the promise of the American dream, encapsulating optimism, fragility, celebrity and iconography all at once,” Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman for Post-War and Contemporary art, said in a statement.
The painting is one of a series of five, all produced in 1964, two years following the death of Marilyn Monroe. The print, which immortalizes the American actress, born Norma Jean Baker, uses an image from a promotional photo for her film “Niagara” and was part of a series of five.
That series was given its title, “The Shot Marilyns” after Warhol contemporary Dorothy Podber saw the paintings and asked Warhol if she could “shoot” them. Believing she would be using a camera, Warhol agreed. The feminist performance artist actually shot the paintings using a pistol, scarring the image of Marilyn’s face right between her eyes.
According to Warhol friend and photographer Billy Name, who was also a friend of the gun-toting feminist Podber, Warhol said: “Please make sure Dorothy doesn’t come over here anymore. She’s too scary.”
Some of the “Shot Marilyns” have been sold, their bullet holes apparently repaired. The sage blue print from this series, however, remains untouched.
The New York Times reports that “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn'' is being sold at Christie’s by the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich, which supports health care and educational programs for children. The proceeds from the sale will reportedly go toward the foundation, potentially making this sale the highest-grossing philanthropic auction since 2018.
“The spectacular portrait isolates the person and the star,” Georg Frei, the foundation chairman, said in a statement. “Marilyn the woman is gone; the terrible circumstances of her life and death are forgotten. All that remains is the enigmatic smile that links her to another mysterious smile of a distinguished lady, the Mona Lisa.”
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