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 ( But slightly below the estimate of $200 million). 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 totalled $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 $478,800, 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 13th 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.