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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 9 May 2022

Warhol's Marilyn Sells for $195 Million 

Sets Record for 20th Century Work of Art
Second Highest Price for Artwork Sold at Auction

The Collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann Evening Sale Totals $317,806,490 With Proceeds to Children's Charities

Jussi Pylkkänen selling Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol

NEW YORK – Monday, May 9, 2022 Christie’s Spring Marquee Week of sales began with the momentous sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol, selling for $195 million, establishing it as the most expensive 20th century artwork to sell at auction. The painting was the final lot of Christie’s single-owner evening sale The Collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann, which featured 36 lots and totaled $317.8 Million.

The sale was 98% sold by value, demonstrating strong demand from collectors and confidence in the market. The sale attracted participation from bidders in 29 countries, with 68% of lots selling above the high estimate. Additional highlights from the sale include record prices for six artists. Francesco Clemente’s The Fourteen Stations, No. XI, sold for three times the previous record at $1,860,000, with bids coming from at least nine bidders. Ann Craven’s I Wasn’t Sorry, 2003 achieved eight times the previous record, fetching $680,400, with competition from 15 bidders. The other records were: Mike Bidlo (three times the previous record), Mary Heilmann, Martin Disler, and Ross Bleckner. After Warhol’s Marilyn, the top lots were Cy Twombly’s Untitled, which achieved $21 million; Robert Ryman’s Untitled, which sold for $20.1 million; and Cy Twombly’s Venere Sopra Gaeta, at $16.9 million.

The sale of the collection will continue on May 13 with a dedicated day sale.

Proceeds from the entire sale will be generously donated by the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation to benefit charities providing urgent medical and educational services to children. The buyer of Warhol’s Marilyn has been invited to partner with the Foundation and play an active role in fulfilling its global mission for children’s aid, with the opportunity to nominate the charities to which 20% of the work’s proceeds will be allocated, subject to the Foundation’s final approval.

Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art, commented: “Tonight was a historic night for Christie’s and for the entire contemporary art market. The record-breaking sale of Warhol’s iconic portrait of Marilyn from the Collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann is a testament to the strength, the vibrancy, and the overall excitement of the art market today. This sale demonstrates the pervasive power of Andy Warhol as well as the lasting legacy that he continues leave behind in the art world, popular culture, and society.”

Marc Porter, Christie’s Chairman, commented: “For 250 years, Christie’s has proudly stewarded the greatest art objects throughout generations and tonight, we yet again made history. The funds that we have raised tonight with the sale of this exquisite collection will go directly toward improving the health and well-being of children and young adults. Philanthropic initiatives are of the utmost importance to our core values at Christie’s; we believe giving back to our global communities to be essential. It has been a true privilege and honor to work so closely with The Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in organizing such a generous sale.”

Artist Records:

- Andy Warhol
- Mike Bidlo
- Ross Bleckner
- Francesco Clemente
- Ann Craven
- Martin Disler
- Mary Heilmann

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.