it was not the first Marilyn Monroe silkscreen What did Andy Warhol,. Not even the only one in the series of five that in 1964 created using a photo of the actress from a promotional poster for ‘Niagara‘. With everything and with that, ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’, the piece on a sage blue background, has become this Monday in the room of Christie’s in New York on the 20th century artwork by which more money has been paid at auction and in the highest price of a american artist: $195 million (slightly less than €185 million), including 25 commissions.
Who has managed to prevail when the mace has finally fallen after a bid of just under four minutes has been the gallery owner Larry Gagosian, although it is not clear on whose behalf the winning bid has been made. The exorbitant price bat brands (and exceeds the nearly 180 million that were paid in 2015 for ‘The Women of Algiers (Version O)’ by Pablo Picasso) has not reached the forecasts, which calculated that the piece could reach 200 million. Even less speculation believed that it would reach 400 million, approaching the absolute record held by Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, which sold for 450 million in 2017.
Even so, the triumph of this Warhol piece, the last one sold in an auction evening in which they have changed hands 36 lots for a total of 318 millions of dollars (only two have been left without a buyer), gives signs of the win and money that have accumulated between the big buyers of art after two years of pandemic. It also shows the art market strengthwhere investors continue to find stability while volatility shakes other markets such as financials.
Ratifying that hunger and that strength is without a doubt what he hopes for Christie’swhich hopes to make sales of modern and contemporary art worth 1.5 billion dollars this week. Also Sotheby’swhich calculates for its auctions next week checks worth 1.18 billionas well as other auction houses with spring sessions.
Warhol’s Marilyn, of something more than one meter by one meter (101 centimeters exactly), with her blue eye shadow, her yellow hair and her red lips, she is what the director of the Department of Art of the 20th and 21st centuries of Christies, Alex Rotter, has defined as “the absolute top of pop-art”. The genius painted her in 1964two years after making a most imperfect first series (which once sold for $225 a painting), already crowned a transformative figure in art, with his messages about mass production penetrating and pop art installed as current. It was part of a collection with five serigraphs that gained even more relevance when the artist Dorothy Podber he entered Warhol’s studio and shot four of the works (although the bullets only hit those with red and blue backgrounds).
The one sold this Monday in New York was in the collection of brothers Thomas and Doris Ammann, art dealers and gallery owners from Zurich, Switzerland, which has been put up for sale at Christie’s after her death last year (he died in 1993). Profits from the auction will go to the Foundation of the Ammans, which finances health and educational programsand the buyer of the ‘Warhol’ will be able to have a say in who receives 20% of what he has paid for the painting.
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