Warhol’s Marilyn portrait sells for world record $195m

Pop artist Andy Warhol’s famed 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe has sold for $195m, becoming the most expensive 20th-century artwork ever sold at a public auction.

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is one of a series of portraits Warhol made of the actress following her death in 1962 and has become one of pop art’s best-known pieces.

It sold for exactly $195.04 million, including fees, in just four minutes in a crowded room at Christie’s headquarters in New York on Monday. Its estimate was $200m.

“‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop,” Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s, said in a statement announcing the auction. “The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th century art and culture.”

The sale beat the previous record for a 20th-century work, Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers, which sold for $179.4m in 2015.

Warhol based the work on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film Niagara, laying bright colours over her eyes, hair and lips.

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