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Andy Warhol's 'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn' sells for record $195M at auction

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Andy Warhol's 'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn' sells for record $195M at auction
"Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" by Andy Warhol is seen at Christie's in New York City on April 29. The piece sold at auction on Monday night for $195 million. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 10 (UPI) -- A famous silkscreen artwork by Andy Warhol of screen legend Marilyn Monroe has sold for close to $200 million and set a new record for any piece of art sold by an American artist at auction.

The piece, titled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, sold for $195 million on Monday night to an anonymous buyer during the auction at Christie's in New York City. Warhol created the piece in 1964.

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The winning bid for the 40-by-40-inch piece was the highest price ever paid at auction for an American artwork. It easily topped the $110.5 million paid for a Jean-Michel Basquiat skull painting at Sotheby's in 2017.

Warhol's artwork was put up for sale by the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich, which said the profits would go to benefit the foundation. The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of children by establishing support systems based on providing healthcare and educational programs.

Christie's said a few weeks ago that the Andy Warhol piece could fetch as much as $200 million. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Christie's said that Monroe's mysterious death in 1962 had always resonated with Warhol.

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"As the golden legend of the silver screen, Marilyn Monroe emerged as the perfect subject for Warhol," Christie's said in a statement. "Both exceedingly glamourous and abundantly tragic, her complex dual nature fascinated the pop artist.

"Like Warhol himself, Monroe's legacy unfolded as a rags-to-riches American saga, lending to her starstruck myth."

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Christie's said in March that the Warhol piece -- described as one of the rarest and most transcendent images in existence -- would fetch close to $200 million.

Warhol produced a total of five versions of the painting between 1962 and 1964, each using a different shade of bright colors and silk-screening technique. The process was so difficult and time-consuming that Warhol never returned to it.

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