'Buyer Got a Deal' on Warhol's $195M 'Marilyn'

But the painting still broke records at auction
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2022 12:03 AM CDT
Warhol's Iconic 'Marilyn' Shatters Auction Records
The 1964 painting Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol is carried in Christie's showroom in New York City on Sunday, May 8, 2022.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

In less than four minutes on Monday night, Andy Warhol's iconic "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" set a new record for the highest price any American artwork has ever fetched at auction. It's also now the most expensive 20th-century artwork ever auctioned. The 1964 silk-screen close-up of Marilyn Monroe's face went for around $195 million to an unknown bidder in the Christie's auction, less than half of the $400 million some had speculated it might sell for, but experts remained impressed. "This is a big achievement," said a Christie's specialist, per the New York Times. "It’s an amazing price. Let it sink in, it’s quite something."

The CEO of Christie's added, per the AP, that the high price "proves we are in a very resilient art market." Experts say there's quite a bit of demand from art buyers after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the auction scene for two years. Dealer Larry Gagosian bid on the 40-inch-by-40-inch painting on the buyer's behalf at the New York auction, which saw some lots go for much higher than the pre-auction estimates. On the Warhol, which has been displayed at museums around the globe, "It was an incredibly healthy price, but at the same time I believe the buyer got a deal. It’s one of the icons of 20th-century art," says one art adviser. (More Andy Warhol stories.)

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