Andy Warhol’s iconic 1964 portrait of Marilyn Monroe is set to become the most expensive 20th century artwork ever sold at auction.
The work, entitled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, has been described as “the most significant painting to come to auction in a generation”.
It will be offered at Christie’s in May with an estimate of $200 million: the highest pre-sale auction estimate ever given to a work of art.
“Standing alongside Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Picasso’s Les Demoiselle d’Avignon, Warhol’s Marilyn is categorically one of the greatest paintings of all time,” said Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art.
The current auction record for a 20th century artwork was set in 2015, when Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)’ sold for $179.4 million.
Shot Sage Blue Marilyn would also smash the current record for a Warhol work at auction, which was set in 2013 when Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) sold at Sotheby’s for $105.4 million.
The painting was acquired around 40 years ago by the art dealer Thomas Ammann, and will now be sold by Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zürich, Switzerland.
All proceeds from the sale will benefit charitable causes, which would represent the largest philanthropic sale since the Rockefeller auction in 2018.
For years Andy Warhol has been regarded by experts as “the bellweather of the art market”.
And with the auction market currently soaring, a new world record price could spark an even higher leap in the price of modern art across the board.
“Every time a painting like this comes up for auction, it changes the market not only for Warhol, but for the art market itself,” said Rotter.