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Friday, May 15, 1998 Published at 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK

World: Americas

Warhol's 'Orange Marilyn' sells for $17 million

How much for News Online's 'Orange Andy'?

Andy Warhol's "Orange Marilyn" has been sold to an anonymous buyer for more than $17.3m at a Sotheby's auction in New York - a record sum for a work by Warhol.

The 1964 silk-screen of US movie star Marilyn Monroe, from a publicity still taken during filming of "Niagara," is set against an orange background.

"Orange Marilyn" had been valued at between $4 and $6m - the previous record for a Warhol was set in 1989, when "Shot Red Marilyn 1964," sold for $4m at Christie's in New York.

"A wise buy"

[ image: Andy Warhol's 'Orange Marilyn']
Andy Warhol's 'Orange Marilyn'
A spokesman for the Sotheby's said the auction house was not surprised by the sum.

"This is a very wise buy for this price," noted Tobias Meyer, a contemporary art specialist for Sotheby's.

"Warhol's painting is an icon of the century. This is the equivalent of a De Kooning, a Jasper Johns or an important Picasso," Mr Meyer said.

Warhol, who died in 1987 of a heart attack, is already the third most expensive contemporary artist, but still far behind De Kooning or Johns, who along with the Impressionists have broken the $20 million mark.

But at least one Warhol has already approached the price of the "Orange Marilyn." Last year the Museum of Modern Art of New York reportedly bought a series of 36 Campbell soup cans for $15m.

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