One of the most iconic images of the 20th century, Andy Warhol‘s blue Marilyn Monroe is set to hit Christie’s Auction House. The art world is anticipating a record breaking sale.
Three feet tall and known as the ‘Sage-Shot Blue Marilyn’, the 1964 print is one of ten created by Warhol based on an image of the actress in the 1953 film “Niagara.” From what was originally a simple black-and-white headshot, Warhol reimagined a vibrant color image of the star, with bright pink skin, blue eyeshadow and ruby red lips. Set to a baby blue background, the image is one of the single most iconic creations in the life of the famously eccentric artist.
Further adding to the legend of the piece, notorious performance artist Dorothy Podber once fired a handgun into a stack of the image as it stood in Warhol’s studio, allegedly after Warhol had misinterpreted Podber’s request to ‘shoot’ the image.
The reserve price for the auction is set at a staggering $200 million USD. Starting at such an incredibly high price, it’s likely the final auction total for the piece will rank among the most expensive art sales in history.
The current record for an art sale remains Badr Bin Abdullah Al Saud‘s purchase of the Mundi, by Leonardo Da Vinci, which was sold at Christie’s for an incredible $475 million. The reserve for that sale was a little more than half that of the upcoming Sage-Shot Blue Marilyn, so it’s even possible that the final price may exceed that of Mundi.
The highest price ever paid for a Warhol was the 2013 Sotheby’s sale of the piece “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster),” which sold for a cool $117 million. Warhol, who passed away of complications related to gallbladder surgery in 1967, is remembered as the founding figure of the American pop art movement. His iconic images of Marilyn, created two years after her tragic death, are credited in part for her enduring fame and legacy.