Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Christie's officials say they don't expect backlash from auction of Warhol's Mao portrait

Christie's officials say they don't expect backlash from auction of Warhol's Mao portrait

Officials from Christie's auction house said Wednesday they don't expect a backlash from China's government over the planned sale of late U.S. pop artist Andy Warhol's portrait of Mao Zedong, which shows the former Chinese leader with a yellow cheek.
The 2.1-meter-tall (84-inch-tall) tall piece, one of Warhol's 10 large-scale portraits of Mao made in 1972, shows the late leader with a pink face _ except a yellow cheek _ and wearing a deep-blue, tight-collared Mao suit.
Christie's says the portrait is expected to fetch US$8 (euro6.3 million) to US$12 million (euro9.4 million) at its Nov. 15 postwar and contemporary art auction in New York.
At a media showing of the painting in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Christie's officials said they don't expect Warhol's pop art treatment of one of China's most revered figures to offend authorities in Beijing.
"I think Warhol portrays Mao in a very esteemed way in this piece. His face isn't distorted or anything. There shouldn't be any problems," said Christie's deputy chairman for Asia, Ken Yeh.
"I don't see why there would be any controversy," said Pilar Ordovas, head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's in London.
Mao's face is "an image that's probably the most-ever reproduced image in history," Ordovas said.
However, the piece won't be displayed on mainland China before it's auctioned, she said.
And Christie's own literature says Warhol takes an irreverent approach in the Mao piece.
"Warhol wryly marries the omnipotent image of a communist god, as propagated by the state-controlled Chinese propaganda apparatus, with the drag-queen decadence of the mass consumer culture that Warhol epitomized and glorified," Brett Gorvy, Christie's deputy chairman and international co-head of postwar and contemporary art, said in a news release.
Ordovas said Warhol created the Mao portrait by replicating a photograph of the leader onto canvas, then filling it with color and painting additionally.
The Mao portrait on sale is owned by the Switzerland-based Daros Collection, known for its collection of pop art and Warhol pieces, according to Ordovas.
She said Daros has been the piece's first and only owner and wants to sell it to raise funds to buy art from the 1960s.
Daros hopes the painting will go to a major collection or a museum, Ordovas said.
She said it's too early to say if there's interest in the painting from private collectors in China or the Chinese government.


Updated : 2021-06-21 05:21 GMT+08:00