Beauty as they say is in the eyes of the beholder, a statement that reigns supreme in the art world.
Well, in this case, this beauty is worth almost $200m to this beholder. What beauty you ask? Well, this iconic portrait of late American actress, Marilyn Monroe done by the also late American artist, Andy Warhol just sold for $195m. That makes it the most expensive piece of 20th Century art ever sold.
The portrait titled, “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” was made by Warhol in the 1960s using a photograph of the actress as inspiration. The 40-inch portrait sold in just four minutes during a public auction at the Christie’s Auction house in Manhattan on Monday evening.
Building up to the auction, Christie’s described the painting as “one of the rarest and most transcendent images in existence”. The auction ended with a sale price of $170m, rising to $195m with taxes and fees taken into account.
Alex Rotter, Chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s said, “We did sell the most expensive painting of the 20th century. I’m very proud of that…I think everyone is very proud of that.”
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“This is a big achievement that is not on me, but just on Warhol and Marilyn… 20th-century works of art, American works of art, it’s the highest price ever paid, close to $200 million” He adds. “Let it sink in. It’s quite something.”
According to the auction house, all the proceeds of the sale will go to the Switzerland-based Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation, which works to establish healthcare and education programmes for children around the world.
The previous record for a 20th century artwork, was Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” which sold for $179.4 million in 2015.