As Andy Warhol’s $195 Million ‘Marilyn’ Makes Auction History, We Look Back on the Artist’s 11 Priciest Works

Here are the most expensive works by Warhol ever sold at auction.

Pop artist and film-maker Andy Warhol. Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images.
Pop artist and film-maker Andy Warhol. Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images.

All eyes were on the Christie’s New York salesroom on Monday as Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964) sold for $195 million, the second-highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction.

The painting, which carried an unpublished estimate of $200 million, went to Larry Gagosian, the very same art dealer who sold it to Thomas and Doris Ammann back in 1986. The estate of the late brother-and-sister art-dealing duo parted with the work, along with 35 others, in a sale benefitting children’s charities.

The close-up, super-saturated portrait of Marilyn Monroe is from a series based on the late actress’s publicity photo for the film Niagara. It is relatively small, measuring only 40 inches by 40 inches—but made a big impact.

Although it failed to exceed the $450 million paid for Salvator Mundi in 2017, it did manage to become the most expensive work of American art ever sold. That record was previously held by Basquiat’s $110.5 million Untitled (1982), also sold in 2017.

The Marilyn is now also the most expensive work of the 20th century to sell at auction, wresting the title from Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) which brought in $179.4 million on 2015.

“The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th century art and culture,” Christie’s executive Alex Rotter said.

After announcing the work in March, Christie’s mounted an impressive marketing campaign to drum up interest, including projecting the image on the facade of its Rockefeller Center headquarters. And Warhol is as ubiquitous as ever in pop culture: There’s Netflix’s recent series The Andy Warhol Diaries, and, on the stage, Chasing Andy Warhol stars Paul Bettany as Warhol, opposite Jeremy Pope as a young Basquiat.

On the heels of the historic sale, we went through the Artnet Price Database to find the most expensive Warhol lots ever sold at auction.

11. Andy Warhol, Double Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963)

Andy Warhol, Double Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Andy Warhol, Double Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Estimate: $50 million to $70 million

Final Price: $53 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, May 15, 2019

10. Andy Warhol, Colored Mona Lisa (1963)

Employees of Christie's with Andy Warhol's <i>Colored Mona Lisa</i> (1963). (Photo by Justin TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Employees of Christie’s with Andy Warhol’s Colored Mona Lisa (1963). Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images.

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: $56.1 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, May 13, 2015

9. Andy Warhol, Coca-Cola (3) (1962)

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 14: A member of Christie’s staff looks at Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola (3)before auction. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

Estimate: $40 million to $60 million

Final Price: $57.3 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, November 12, 2013

8. Andy Warhol, Sixty Last Suppers (1986)

Andy Warhol's Sixy Last Suppers (1986) on view at Christie’s. Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2017.

Andy Warhol’s Sixty Last Suppers (1986) on view at Christie’s. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2017.

Estimate: $50 million

Final Price: $60.9 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, November 15, 2017

7. Andy Warhol, Race Riot (in 4 parts) (1964)

A visitor views Race riot by Andy Warhol. Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images.

Estimate: $45 million

Final Price: $62.9 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, May 13, 2014

6. Andy Warhol, Men in Her Life (1962)

Andy Warhol, Men in Her Life (1962). Courtesy of Phillips.

Andy Warhol, Men in Her Life (1962). Courtesy of Phillips.

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: $63.4 million

Where & When: Phillips de Pury and Co., November 8, 2010

5. Andy Warhol, Four Marlons (1966)

Andy Warhol, Four Marlons (1966). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Andy Warhol, Four Marlons (1966). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: $69.6 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, November 12, 2014

 

4. Andy Warhol, Green car crash – Green burning car I (1963)

Andy Warhol, Green car crash - Green burning car I (1963). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Andy Warhol, Green car crash – Green burning car I (1963). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: $25 million to $35 million

Final Price: $71.7 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, May 16, 2007

3. Andy Warhol, Triple Elvis (Ferus Type) (1963)

Andy Warhol, Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Andy Warhol, Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: $30 million

Final Price: $81.9 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, November 12, 2014

2. Andy Warhol, Silver car crash (Double disaster) (in 2 parts) (1963)

Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster] (1963). Image courtesy of Sotheby's Auction House.

Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster] (1963). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s Auction House.

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: $105.4 million

Where & When: Sotheby’s New York, November 13, 2013

1. Andy Warhol, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964)

Andy Warhol, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd.

Andy Warhol, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964). Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd.

Estimate: Undisclosed (in the region of $200 million)

Final Price: $195 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, May 9, 2022


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