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Tuesday, May 10, 2022 – An iconic painting of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol is now the most expensive piece of 20th Century art ever sold, after it was auctioned for $195m (£158.17m).

The amount is also the highest ever paid for an American work of art.

The painting, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, was painted by Warhol in 1964 using a famous photograph as inspiration.

Ahead of the auction by Christie’s in New York, Christie’s wrote that the painting is “one of the rarest and most transcendent images in existence”, with a selling price “in the region” of $200m.

Bloomberg reports that the winning bidder was US art dealer Larry Gagosian, who owns a chain of art galleries.

According to Christie’s on Monday, May 9, all the proceeds of the sale will go to the Switzerland-based Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich, which works to establish healthcare and education programmes for children around the world.

The auction ended with a sale price of $170m, which rose to $195m with taxes and fees taken into account.

The price also smashes the previous record for a 20th Century work of art, set in 2015 when a 1955 painting by Pablo Picasso – Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) – sold for $179.4m, including fees.

The previous record price for a piece of American artwork was $110.5m for a skull painting created in 1982 by Warhol’s riva, Jean-Michael Basquiat.

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