Christie’s expects Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” (1964) to become the most expensive 20th-century artwork to sell at auction when it is offered for $200mn in May. The work vies with Pablo Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version O)” (1955), which sold for $179.4mn in 2015 and is currently the priciest 20th-century work to sell publicly. The asking price is a record, the previous high was for Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché” (1917), estimated at $150mn in 2018. (This sold for $157.2mn, including fees.) The Warhol is being offered without a guarantee from the Zurich foundation of the late siblings Thomas and Doris Ammann, to benefit children’s charities.
Thomas and Doris Ammann were siblings and founders of Thomas Ammann Fine Art since 1977, a storied gallery in Zurich that championed artists from the Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary era. They ran the gallery with an unmatched fervour and impeccable taste, establishing it as one of the most influential art spaces in Europe, beloved and respected by top collectors around the globe. After her brother passed away in 1993, Doris continued to successfully lead the gallery with her grace, knowledge and discretion, while continuing to support the careers of an influential generation of artists through the recession. Patient, diplomatic, and kind, both siblings had a deeply instilled appreciation for art and artists, counting Cy Twombly and Brice Marden among their closest friends. With proceeds of the sale benefiting The Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation, the siblings’ legacy will continue on in its tradition of benevolence and generosity that will impact the lives of children for generations.