Andy Warhol’s artwork on Chinese communist leader Mao sells for $12.2 million


One of Andy Warhol’s portraits of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong has sold for a whopping $12.2 million at a recent auction. The High Priest of Pop Art has had his works sell for millions in the past including the Red self portrait which fetched $17 million, the Mercedes Benz Silk Screen and the rare Queen Elizabeth portrait and this prestigious painting was no exception. Remarkable though, is the fact that the final sale price of the painting was estimated to be about 20 times the amount it had sold for the last time it was up for auction. Having been sold for $705,844 (£421,500) the first time around, the painting exceeded its pre-sale price estimate by a substantial margin, proving that art is indeed a reliable investment. Both times, the painting was auctioned by Sotheby’s.

Warhol created several portraits of Mao in varying sizes, beginning in 1972, the year that then president Richard Nixon made a diplomatic visit to China. Oddly enough, the paintings are not as popular in China as they are among collectors abroad, in 2012, the Chinese government banned 10 Mao works and later in exhibits of Warhol’s works in Shanghai and Beijing no Mao works were put on display.

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While $12.2 million may be a large sum, it is still a good $5 million short of the most money ever paid for Mao work by Warhol. Hong Kong Tycoon Joseph Lau claimed that distinction in 2006 when he paid a staggering $17.4 million for a 208 cm by 155 cm Mao canvas at a Christie’s auction in New York.

[Via – WSJ]