An iconic Andy Warhol screenprinted portrait of movie star Marilyn Monroe sold for $ 195 million Monday at Christie’s, setting a new record for any American artwork at auction.
The sale kicked off New York’s major spring auctions and underscored the global strength of the high-end art market at a time of volatility in the broader financial markets. Collectors often view works of art as an investment hedge because art values do not necessarily move along with values.
Warhol’s 1964 3-foot square screenprint, called “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” shows a promotional photo of the 1953 actress’ film, “Niagara.” The artist transformed the actress into a pop art icon by giving her a pink chewing gum face, ruby lips and blue eye shadow on a sage blue background.
At least four bidders competed for the play, and dealer Larry Gagosian won it after a roughly four-minute bidding battle in the Christie’s Rockefeller Center sales room in Manhattan. Looking ahead to the latest sale, Christie’s had high expectations for the job, giving it an estimate of $ 200 million.
In terms of successful paintings, Warhol is now among the most expensive works of art ever sold. The sale exceeded $ 110.5 million paid in 2017 for a skull painting by Warhol protégé Jean-Michel Basquiat. The sale also overshadowed Warhol’s previous record $ 105.4 million set in 2013 by his wall-sized metal diptych with a man sunk in his wrecked car, “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) “.
The headline remains the $ 450 million “Salvator Mundi” from Leonardo da Vinci, which Christie’s sold to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 2017.
An extended version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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