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Warhol's famed 'Marilyn' silk-screen sells for record Sh22billion at auction

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 Andy Warhol's "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn", a painting of Marilyn Monroe. (Courtesy/Reuters)

Pop artist Andy Warhol's famed 1964 silk-screen portrait of Marilyn Monroe sold for $195 million (Sh22.6billion) at auction on Monday, a record for a work by an American artist sold at auction.

"Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" is one in a series of portraits Warhol made of the actress following her death in 1962 and has since become one of pop art's best-known pieces.

Held in the collection of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann, it was sold by Christie's at an auction in New York. Pre-sale estimates had reached as high as $200 million (Sh23billion)

The painting sold for a hammer price of $170 million Added fees gave it a final price of $195 million.

The sale broke the previous record for an American artwork at auction of $110.5 million set in 2017 for a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn' is the absolute pinnacle of American Pop," Alex Rotter, chairman of 20th and 21st Century art at Christie's, said in a statement announcing the auction. "The painting transcends the genre of portraiture, superseding 20th century art and culture."

The painting is built on a promotional photo of Monroe from the 1953 film "Niagara," screened with bright colors over her eyes, hair and lips.

Its title refers to an incident in which a woman shot at a stack of four Marilyn portraits in Warhol's studio with a pistol, although "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" was not struck by a bullet.

Monroe was one of Hollywood's best-known stars before her death of an overdose at her home in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, 1962.

Warhol died in 1987.

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