Andy Warhol Painting Breaks Auction Record for U.S. Artists

NEW YORK — Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” sold for a cool $195 million on Monday, making the iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe the most expensive work by a U.S. artist ever sold at auction.

The 1964 silkscreen image shows Monroe in vibrant close-up — hair yellow, eyeshadow blue and lips red — on a rich blue background. It’s also the most expensive piece from the 20th century ever auctioned, according to Christie’s auction house in New York, where the sale took place.

The Warhol sale unseated the previous record holder and another modern master, Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose 1982 painting “Untitled” of a skull-like face sold for a record $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2017.

Christie’s said an unnamed buyer made the purchase Monday night. They estimated that the auction could fetch as high as $200 million when it was first announced.

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

“This is where we wanted to be, clearly,” said Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s. “It proves we are in a very resilient art market.”

Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich. The painting was put up for auction. This foundation is dedicated to providing education programs and medical care for children.

Warhol made more than one Monroe photograph; his particular painting was exhibited at museums across the globe.

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