Monday, May 9, the famous Shot Sage Blue Marilyn portrait by Andy Warhol made a historic sale at Christie’s Auction House. How much did the legendary artwork sell for?

A key piece in the series of silkscreen portraits Warhol created of actress Marilyn Monroe sold for $195 million dollars. American art dealer Larry Gogsian was responsible for the winning bid for the Warhol “Marilyn” auction sale.

This makes it the most expensive piece of American art ever sold.

However, before the auction, the portrait’s estimated worth was $200 million dollars.

All proceeds from the iconic piece of pop art’s sale go to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich. The charity aims to use the funds from the record-breaking auction sale to fund children’s education and healthcare programs. 

Record-breaking American art auction sales

Prior to the May 9, 2022 auction, Jean-Michel Basquiat held the record for the most expensive piece of American art. In 2017, one of his untitled skull paintings sold for $110.5 million. 

However, before Basquiat, Warhol was the record-holder. His 1963 serigraph Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) sold for $105.4 million in 2013. 

Now, the pop art pioneer holds the record once again. 

The history behind Warhol’s “Marilyn” portraits

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is one of a series of four pieces Warhol created in The Factory, his New York City studio. The origins of the silkscreens’ final title is interesting to note. 

Performance artist Dorothy Podber came by and asked Warhol if she could “shoot” the artworks. Of course, Warhol thought she meant she wanted to photograph them, but that wasn’t the case. 

She then proceeded to pull out a revolver and shoot the portraits in the foreheads. The series then became The Shot Marilyns.

While the rest of The Shot Marilyns have sold over the years, never for anywhere near the recent $195 million.

Nevertheless, the recent Warhol “Marilyn” auction sale and the stories around him solidify the artist’s place in American history. 

Featured image source: Photo of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn portrait via Christie’s / Twitter

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