Warhol’s ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ Sells for Record $195M

"Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" by Andy Warhol is carried in Christie's showroom
The 1964 painting “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” by Andy Warhol is carried in Christie’s showroom in New York City on Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Late Pop artist and Montauk homeowner Andy Warhol’s iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe broke the record for the most expensive American artwork ever auctioned when it sold May 9 for $195 million.

Warhol used a silkscreen image to create “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” depicting a closeup of a smiling Monroe with yellow hair, blue eyeshadow and red lipstick on a blue-green background. Christie’s auction house in New York confirmed the record-breaking sales figure.

“It’s an amazing price,” said Alex Rotter, chairman of Christie’s 20th and 21st century art department. 

The sale broke the previous record for an American artwork at auction of $110.5 million set in 2017 for a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat dubbed “Untitled” of a skull-like face.

One of the influential artist’s most recognizable works, the Warhol piece is part of a Monroe series created in 1964, two years after her death. It was based on a photo promoting her 1953 film Niagara, while 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, though “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” was not struck by a bullet.

The proceeds of the sale of “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” will go to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich, which put the painting up for auction. The foundation, named for the Swiss art dealers who owned the work, aims to help children with healthcare and educational programs.

-With Associated Press, Reuters

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