Warhol's famed 'Marilyn' sold for record $195 million
In early May, pop artist Andy Warhol's famed 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe was sold for $195 million at an auction held by Christie’s in New York City. The amount is the highest price achieved for a work by an American artist at auction.
Larry Gagosian was revealed to be the buyer of the canvas. He is an American art dealer who is considered the owner of one of the largest art galleries in the world. The funds generated from the sale will be given to the Ammann Foundation, which focuses on health care and educational programs for children around the world. "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" eclipsed Pablo Picasso's "Algerian Women", a painting that previously was the most expensive work of art of the 20th century.
"Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" is one in a series of identical portraits Warhol made of the actress in four other versions in red, orange, blue, and turquoise. There is a curious story relevant to the title. In 1963, performative artist Dorothy Podber asked Warhol for permission to shoot the canvas. However, instead of photographing the works, he pulled out a pistol and fired at the stack of canvases. This is how the series "The Shot Marilyns" was born.
George Frei, the chairman of the board of the Thomas and Doris Amman Foundation, said the painting "bears witness to [Monroe’s] undiminished visual power in the new millennium". "Marilyn the woman is gone; the terrible circumstances of her life and death are forgotten. All that remains is the enigmatic smile that links her to another mysterious smile of a distinguished lady, the Mona Lisa," he stressed.