Andy Warhol remains one of the most iconic artists even after his death — thus, his works cost a lot. But in May, he'll have his most expensive auction item up for sale. The price tag is a whopping nine figures!
Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe Portraits
This spring, Andy Warhol’s works are gaining more recognition and popularity. One of his silk-screen portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, will be the most expensive up for auction to date. Ready to hear the price? Christie’s will start the bidding at $200 million!
Warhol has a long history with pop art and celebrity portraits. In addition to his famous Campbell’s Soup Can and banana paintings, his portraits of Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Muhammad Ali transformed the art world in the '60s. His inspiration often came from his job as the founder of Interview Magazine, which chronicled the lives of stars. “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” Warhol once commented.
Among the countless silk prints Warhol created, his Marilyn Diptych is probably one of the most interesting. For the piece, Warhol printed a grid of 50 portraits across two canvases. In contrast, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is a single image, which uses a more refined process that was "antithetical to the mass production he was best known for," according to a statement. All the portraits Warhol made are extremely rare and unique. But Shot Sage Blue Marilyn will be the most expensive piece of all. Previously, only one of Warhol's works has earned over $105 million, and that was in 2013.
Sold At The Most Expensive Auction
But why is Shot Sage Blue Marilyn so terribly expensive? Apart from using a ton of different colors like pink and blue, The Shot Marilyns were a part of a curious experiment. One of Warhol’s studio visitors, Dorothy Podber, decided to shoot into the stack of canvases. Of course, it wasn’t just a random stunt — Podber said her opening fire was a performance. Yet, not all the Marilyns were damaged. The Shot Sage Blue Marilyn was not with the others and remained unscathed!
It’s "the absolute pinnacle of American Pop [and] the most significant 20th-century painting to come to auction in a generation,” said Christie's chairman of 20th and 21st-century art, Alex Rotter. "Standing alongside Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Warhol's Marilyn is categorically one of the greatest paintings of all time and it's a once in a generation opportunity to present this masterpiece publicly at auction," he added.
If sold at its starting price, however, the piece will not be the most expensive work of art sold. In the past, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting was sold for $450.3 million to a Saudi Arabian prince. As for the Shot Sage Blue Marylin — it’s still making milestones whether it exceeds this price point or not. We'll have to wait and see how much it sells for at the actual auction in May!