Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” is one of the most expensive pieces of 20th-century surrealism art ever sold at auction. Shot Sage Blue Marilyn was sold at Christie’s for $195 million.
The painting set several records in the art market at once. The canvas became the most expensive piece of art of the 20th century and the most expensive piece of American art. Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” became the second most expensive piece of art in history after Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, which sold at auction for $450 million.
“Marilyn” by Andy Warhol is the absolute pinnacle of American pop culture and embodies the American dream. It broadcasts optimism, vulnerability, fame, and cult at the same time, “says Alex Rotter, head of Christie’s art of the 20th and 21st centuries.
After the death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, the American artist Andy Warhol painted several portraits of the 20th-century style icon.
Shot Sage Blue Marilyn has previously exhibited at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London.
The pieces of surrealist art were created from photographs of the actress taken on the set of Henry Hathaway’s film Niagara in 1953. In 2015, Andy Warhol’s famous painting “The Four Marilyns” went up for auction. Then it was sold for $36 million.
Warhol began work on the Marilyn diptych in August 1962, a week after Marilyn Monroe’s suicide. This sad event made the artist think about the American celebrity cult and how this cult transformed and continues to exist after the death of a star.
This idea was embodied in the form of a huge canvas with 50 portraits of the actress: half are brightly colored, the second half is black and white, and some images seem to be deliberately “spoiled”, too pale, or, on the contrary, too dark. Warhol took the famous publicity shot of Marilyn from the 1952 film Niagara as a basis, but some of the black-and-white portraits on the right side of the canvas are more reminiscent of the death masks of the actress.
Art historian and critic Camille Paglia, in her book Glittering Images, noted that Warhol’s piece of surrealism art perfectly reflects the “multiple meanings” of the life and legacy of Marilyn Monroe.
Andy Warhol was one of the first artists to use silk screen printing in his work. Because of this, he deserved a lot of criticism from critics, since painting involved a closer and longer contact of the artist with the material used. Warhol’s works were literally stamped one after another. The use of screen printing plates allowed Warhol to produce dozens of identical paintings in a short time. In addition, as in the case of portraits of Marilyn, and with other subjects of his work, using this technique it was possible to create different versions of the same image using many color compositions. The first such series was portraits of Monroe, and later Warhol began to apply this method to other pieces of surrealism art.