Marilyn Monroe: what is the famous image by Andy Warhol, and how much could it go for at auction?

The image, called Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, could become Wahol’s most expensive print

Andy Wahol’s print of Marilyn Monore - called Shot Sage Blue Marilyn - will go up for sale at auction for $200 millionAndy Wahol’s print of Marilyn Monore - called Shot Sage Blue Marilyn - will go up for sale at auction for $200 million
Andy Wahol’s print of Marilyn Monore - called Shot Sage Blue Marilyn - will go up for sale at auction for $200 million

One of Andy Wahol’s most famous prints, a brightly coloured image of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe, is set to become the most expensive piece of artwork from the 20th century ever auctioned.

So, what is the image, what is it called and how much could it be sold for at auction?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the image?

The image is a close up of Marilyn Monroe, inspired by a black and white photo of her in 1953 American film-noir thriller Niagara.

Andy Wahol, known for his creative work as part of the visual art movement called pop art, created the piece in 1964 by adding striking colour to Monroe’s features.

She is shown with yellow hair, blue eyeshadow, red lips and a pink face that contrasts with the print’s sage blue background.

It is one of five versions of the print Wahol created, each with a different colour as the background - red, orange, blue, sage blue (the one being auctioned), and turquoise.

What is the image called?

The silk-screen print with the sage blue background is famously called Shot Sage Blue Marilyn.

The piece’s name came after performance artist Dorothy Podber visited Warhol’s studio and allegedly fired a shot into a stack of canvases, which were the images of Monroe.

It is said that Podber asked Warhol if she could shoot the stack of Marilyn paintings and, assuming that she meant to photograph them, he agreed.

Instead, she pulled out a gun and fired at the prints, damaging the red and blue versions of the image.

Wahol later repaired the damage.

How much could the image be sold for?

The sage blue painting has been exhibited in museums around the world and is now being offered for sale by the Thomas And Doris Ammann Foundation Zurich.

The foundation helps children with healthcare and education.

The print is going to be auctioned in May at New York City’s Christie’s auction house.

It has an asking price of $200 million (around £151 million), which is more than any of Wahol’s previous works.

If the work does sell for the asking price, it would surpass Warhol’s current auction record of $105.4m (£80m), which was paid in 2013 for his Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) silk-screen image.

It would also become the most expensive 20th century painting sold at auction. The image which currently holds this record is Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) by Picasso, which sold for $179m (£135m) in May 2015, also at Christie’s auction house in New York.

Who was Marilyn Monroe?

Marilyn Monroe, whose real name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, was an American actress, model and singer who was famous during the 1950s and 1960s.

She was known for her platinum blond hair and the beauty mark on her cheek, and has a legacy as one of the world’s most iconic sex symbols.

She died of a drug overdose in 1962, when she was just 36 years old.

Who was Andy Wahol?

Andy Warhol was an renowned American artist, film director, and producer, known for his modern take on art. He was a leader in the pop art movement.

After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the late 1950s, he made a name for himself as an influential and controversial artist, and then began to paint celebrities and other well known and wealthy figures.

He died, aged 58, of a cardiac arrest following gallbladder surgery in 1987.

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