Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe portrait fetches record $195M at auction

NEW YORK — Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” a silk-screen image of actress Marilyn Monroe, set two records Monday when it fetched $195 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, the company said.

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According to The Associated Press, an unnamed bidder won the iconic 1964 portrait, which fetched the highest price of any American artwork ever auctioned. It also became the most expensive 20th century piece sold at an auction, Christie’s said in a news release. The U.S. record had been held by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 painting “Untitled,” which went for $110.5 million in 2017, while Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O)” set the previous 20th century record when it sold for $179.4 million in 2015, NPR reported.

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Christie’s said proceeds will benefit the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich, which offered the Warhol piece and several others during the 36-lot sale Monday.

“Tonight was a historic night for Christie’s and for the entire contemporary art market,” Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st century art for Christie’s, said in a statement Monday. “The record-breaking sale of Warhol’s iconic portrait of Marilyn from the Collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann is a testament to the strength, the vibrancy and the overall excitement of the art market today. This sale demonstrates the pervasive power of Andy Warhol as well as the lasting legacy that he continues leave behind in the art world, popular culture and society.”

In March, the auction house estimated that “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” could sell for up to $200 million, the AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.