Warhol ‘Marilyn’ Work Is Now The Most Expensive 20th-Century Artwork Auctioned
By Alexa Heah, 11 May 2022
Two months ago, Christie’s announced Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn would be going up for sale, in what it hailed as “the most significant 20th-century painting to come to auction in a generation.”
This week, at the auction house’s Spring Marquee Week, the iconic work sold for an astonishing US$195 million, making it the most expensive 20th-century artwork to ever go under the hammer.
According to the Guinness World Records, Warhol’s work bumped the previous record holder, Pablo Picasso, off the throne, whose Les femmes d'Alger (Version O) sold for US$179.3 million in 2015.
Not only is the Warhol work now the most expensive painting from the 20th century sold at auction, but it also takes the accolade of being the most expensive work by a US artist ever sold at auction, a title previously held by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled.
In total, the sale featured 36 lots from the collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann, the brother-sister duo behind Thomas Ammann Fine Art and well-known prestigious collectors in the art world, raking in US$317.8 million.
Aside from Warhol, six other artists achieved record prices at the auction, including Francesco Clemente’s The Fourteen Stations, No XI, which sold for three times its previous record at US$1.86 million; I Wasn’t Sorry, 2003 by Ann Craven, whose piece went up eight times in value to fetch US$680,400; and other works from Mike Bidlo, Mary Heilmann, Martin Disler, and Ross Bleckner.
Heartwarmingly, earnings from the sale will go towards charities providing urgent medical care and educational services to children, with the buyer of Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn invited to partner with the Foundation and contribute to the cause, and can nominate charities to which 20% of the work’s proceeds will be donated.
“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,” said Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art.
“This sale demonstrates the pervasive power of Andy Warhol as well as the lasting legacy that he continues to leave behind in the art world, popular culture, and society,” he added.
[via Associated Press and Christie’s, cover image via Christie’s]
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