Christie’s Sets Auction House Record with $195 Million Sale of Warhol’s Marilyn
Kicking off its spring Marquee Week, Christie’s recently set an auction house record with the $195 million sale of Andy Warhol’s iconic Shot Sage Blue Marilyn. The sale marks the most expensive 20th century artwork ever sold at auction.
Given the recent market volatility, the sale is further evidence that hard assets including art and real estate can serve as a hedge against inflation.
The vibrant silk screen 40-inch-by-40-inch painting of the starlet was offered by the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation and was purchased after less than four minutes of bidding by art dealer Larry Gagosian. In an interesting twist, this is the second brush Gagosian has had with the piece, as it was part of the Ammann collection since 1986 when he brokered a deal to sell it to the now-deceased sibling collectors.
Warhol first painted Marilyn in 1962 on a smaller scale and returned to his muse twice more over his career. The larger and more detailed format that he created in 1964 is considered the most desirable of the motif, as well as the most popular of his body of work and an emblem of the American Pop Art movement.
According to Christie’s, all proceeds from the sale will benefit charities providing urgent medical and educational care to children and represents the largest philanthropic sale since the Rockefeller auction in 2018. As the winning bidder, Gagosian also has the opportunity to nominate the charities to which 20 percent of the Marilyn proceeds will be allocated.
In 2017, Christie’s was the site of the priciest painting ever sold at auction, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which fetched $450.3 million. Additionally, Christie’s has achieved the record for a single collection sale, work by a living artist, and an NFT sale.
Christie’s International Real Estate, the global luxury real estate network, which was recently acquired by @properties and has affiliates in nearly 50 countries around the world, works closely with Christie’s to offer clients special access to auction, private-sale and appraisal services for art and luxury goods. Expert liaisons assist real estate clients who wish to sell art and luxury goods, and vice versa. Tailored services such as these are rare in the residential marketplace and another example of the curated offerings both firms provide.
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