When the Spring Marquee sales for Christie's kicked off, it was to a record-breaking sale of an iconic piece of Americana history.
Artist Andy Warhol's signature and iconic Shot Sage Blue Marilyn sold for nearly $200M, setting records for 20th century artwork sales. Like both Warhol and Marilyn Monroe, the piece owns a huge place in American history and it's entirely poetic that this piece in particular would set the bar for all that comes after.
Marilyn - Breaking the Mold Long After She's Gone
Christie's kicked off their Spring Marquee series with a bang, setting records and standards for the season to come.
Warhol's famed Marilyn print sold for $195 million. That sets a record for the most any 20th century piece of artwork has sold for - and it's the second-highest selling piece of artwork ever.
The colorful painting was the last piece in the lot from The Collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann, which included 36 remarkable pieces.
The auction team shares in a statement, "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."
Other Pieces in the Collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann
The entire Amman Collection sold for a staggering $317,806,490.
Proceeds from the auction went to the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation to benefit charities providing urgent medical and educational services to children. The first night's sales made it a wildly successful night for both the auction and art worlds, and the charities they benefit.
While Warhol's Marilyn was the best-selling piece of the night, it wasn't alone. Here are some of the other remarkable pieces from the Ammann collection:
- Mike Bidlo's Not Picasso (Bather with Beachball) - sold for $2.2M
- A collaborative piece between Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat - sold for $4.6M
- Cy Twombly's Venere Sopra Gaeta - sold for $16.9M
- Martin Kippenberger's Untitled - sold for $3.7M
- Brice Marden's Le Mien - sold for $8.4M
- Andy Warhol's Flowers - sold for $15.8M
- Urs Fischer's Secret - sold for $2.5M
- plus many more.
For a list of the full collection including those already sold and those still up for grabs, click here.
The sale will continue May 13.
Art for Charity
The idea of philanthropists using art sales to fund charities is nothing new, but it's gaining traction again in recent years.
With income disparities rising and climate changing having the most effect on vulnerable populations and communities, charity from the top has become absolutely necessary.
Successful sales like the Ammann Collection is a reminder to the art world of the power that they hold - and the responsibility they have to use art wisely.
While art auctions to private buyers are often controversial - some believe no one person should be able to own these pieces of art history - it can also be used for great good.
With over $300 million already heading to charity from the first part of the sale, the Spring auction season is off to a great start - and people seem more ready than ever to drop some major cash on the right pieces, for the right cause.