Jun 02

Exhibition: “Mao by Andy Warhol”

Art Comments Off on Exhibition: “Mao by Andy Warhol”

Christie’s International is shipping a 14-foot-high Andy Warhol “Mao” portrait to Hong Kong in search of a buyer, reports Bloomberg.

The silkscreen-on-canvas work, which will be displayed in the city’s main convention center May 22–29 as part of an exhibition dedicated to Warhol’s representations of the late communist leader, is expected to bring in up to $120 million in a private sale. Warhol’s auction record currently stands at $71.7 million, paid for Green Car Crash (1963) at Christie’s last May.

Christie’s is offering the “Mao,” one of Warhol’s largest and the only one in private hands, on behalf of an anonymous European seller. The other Mao portraits of this size are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. None has been shown outside of the West.

“It’s worth $120 million because it’s so rare,” said Ken Yeh, Christie’s deputy chairman in Asia.

The exhibition, “Mao by Andy Warhol,” which Christie’s organized in collaboration with New York’s L&M Arts gallery, will feature 15 portraits.

Christie’s expects the 14-foot Andy Warhol “Mao” it’s exhibiting in Hong Kong to fetch up to $120 million.


Hong Kong – Christie’s is honored to showcase one of the most important works from the Mao series by Andy Warhol and the most valuable work by Warhol to remain outside of a museum during its Hong Kong 2008 Spring Sales. The work will be displayed as part of an exhibition featuring portraits of Mao by Andy Warhol from May 22-29 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where Christie’s holds its sales and views.

“It is an honor and a unique opportunity to bring one of the most important paintings by Warhol to remain outside an institution to Christie’s in Hong Kong where the international art world will gather for our Spring Sales.” said Brett Gorvy, International Co-Head of Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art. “Visitors will have a chance to view this extraordinary Mao in Asia for the very first time as part of a specially curated exhibition celebrating Warhol’s legendary series.”

Mao by Andy Warhol is a superlative work in every aspect. One of the finest and greatest examples from Warhol’s entire oeuvre, this magnificent, colossal Mao stuns viewers with its staggering size and wall-power. Over 14 feet high, the painting is one of four Giant Maos of these dimensions executed by the artist. The other three are in major American and European museum collections: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. Never before has any of these paintings been displayed outside of the Western world.

Mao encompassed Warhol’s first major critically and commercially successful series following his premature “retirement” from painting in 1965 to pursue filmmaking. A near fatal shooting in 1968 led Warhol to reevaluate his career and artistic output and he began to execute commissioned celebrity portraits in the early 1970’s. The subject of Mao marks a turning point in the artist’s career and would begin a period of renewed growth. Warhol’s choice of subject also reflected the political developments of his day. In 1971, the People’s Republic of China replaced Nationalist China in the United Nations General Assembly and Securities Council and relations between China and the United States became less strained. In fact, it was Chairman Mao who was credited for encouraging President Nixon’s visit to China in February of 1972, the first by an American leader, with the visit easing Cold War tensions between the United States and China.

The subject of this work and its relevance to Chinese history makes it an important work to exhibit in Hong Kong given its proximity and ties to mainland China. Despite his radical policies, many people still see Mao as a figure of strength and unity. Warhol’s Mao represents the shift in cultural values that has taken place over the past decade and is therefore emblematic of the bridging of east and west.

A smaller portrait of Mao by Andy Warhol established a world auction record for the artist when it sold for US$17,376,000 in Christie’s New York Evening sale in November 2006. This record was surpassed in Christie’s May 2007 Evening Sale by Warhol’s Green Car Crash, which sold for US$71,720,000 and which remains a world auction record for any work by Warhol.

The exhibition “Mao by Andy Warhol” will feature 15 additional portraits depicting Mao by Warhol. Christie’s is collaborating with L&M Arts, New York, for the exhibition of “Mao by Andy Warhol.” L&M Arts were responsible for the first exhibition of Mao to take place in American in 2006. The exhibition and sale of the Giant Mao has been organized with the help of James Mayor, The Mayor Gallery, London.

warhol is one of the pioneers of pop art, a phenomenon that emerged in the 1950s. pop art is a form of art that employs imagery from everyday life, such as consumer products and famous people. titled “a is for andy”, this exhibition features 116 of warhol’s original paintings, worth US$15 million!

for those of you who may not be familiar with warhol, here are some examples of his more known pieces.

his famous silkscreen painting series of marilyn monroe, the epitome of beauty, was done 5 years after her untimely death. each of the prints has been called “an icon of an icon created by an icon”. this is also my personal favorite from warhol.

of course, who can forget his series of 32 campbell’s soup cans? each painting in the series features a unique flavor of campbell’s soup. why campbell’s soup? because warhol had it for lunch everyday for twenty years!

the exhibition has been open for private viewing for a week. one of the first paintings to be sold is this series of 10 paintings of the late chinese leader, mao zedong, in different colors.

written by Pinewood Design \\ tags: , , , , ,

Apr 15

1. Fun in the Forbidden City IV

2. Boating in the Palace

3. Brother

4. Climbing over the Red Wall

5. Dialogue I

6. Dragon Boat

7. Empire State Building

8. Fishing

9. Flooding the Forbidden City I

10. Fun in the Forbidden City I

11. Fun in the Forbidden City II

12. Fun in the Forbidden City V

13. Golf Red Wall

14. Golf,The Farmer I

15. Golf,The Farmer II

16. Golf,The Farmer III

17. Golf,The Palace

18. Golf,Tiananmen I

19. Golf,Tiananmen II

20. Heroism

21. Hot 798

22. Victory

23. Idealism I

24. Routime Work I

25. Routine Work II

26. Sedar Car

27. Skiing

28. Smog I

29. Sweeping Tiantan

30. Swimming in the Forbidden City I

31. The City

32. The Sun in our heart

33. Tourists I

34. Tourists II

35. Somewhere in Beijing 3-3

In recent years contemporary Chinese art has become a hot topic at the auctions houses. When a gallery in Beijing or Hong Kong hangs contemporary works in their window, such as the “big baby” portraits, they immediately become popular. The concept of contemporary Chinese art came from the West and it referred to a new tide of art following World War II. Within contemporary Chinese art it is often hard to distinguish between what really belongs to this new tide and what are merely imitations.

During the 1980s and 1990s a few western journalists living in Beijing brought with them to Hong Kong some works by “underground” artists. Most of these were painted on cheap canvases, using poor quality materials, the subject matter was dark and dull. We couldn’t sell these works from our gallery. I believe this was Chinese contemporary art in its initial stages. Xing Xing artists began to emerge from the “underground” and later on came the Yuan Ming Yuan artists. Galleries in Hong Kong started promoting Chinese avant-garde art to the foreign market and international buyers started quietly collecting these works. Later on came the Song Village artists and early this century Yan Club became a pioneer in the area known as 798, which is now a hotbed of contemporary Chinese art in Beijing.

Among these contemporary artists were those who displayed their suffering, others merely imitated this suffering, some copied Western artists such as Hockney, Bacon and Warhol. But among them are also artists such as Chen Lianqing, who manage to skillfully express their own feelings onto canvas.

Lianqing was born in Sichuan Province – known in China as Paradise Province, although life there is actually tough. Sichuan people are sensitive and tolerant, but they also appreciate humour and their dialect reflects this humour. After mastering the skill of painting Lianqing was destined to become a pop artist. The fast developing China has its colorful, bright side, but the background to Lianqing’s paintings is grey, reminding us that there is another world existing. In his paintings there are always historic buildings and around these buildings are hundreds of small orange, very active men representing China’s mass of people. They do’t care about power. In the paintings they are pulling things down, having fun, causing trouble in and around the Palace. They are naughty, happy and very busy – typical Sichuan people. The little men swimming and diving in the flooded Forbidden City are even more interesting, but they also serve to remind us that Lianqing’s hometown was also flooded a few years ago.

Traditional oil painters often think that the technique used by contemporary artists of applying acrylic directly onto the canvas is too simple. On the other hand many traditional oil painters are incapable of painting without using a model. Isn’t this just as simple? Contemporary artists throw themselves into real life, they use real life situations to express their feelings about life. Their works therefore feel real and are easily accessible. All kinds of artists should learn from this.

When I was writing this article I met a director from Sotheby’s New York and I asked her what she thought would be the next hot topic after contemporary art and she said it will still be contemporary art, but just new faces. Good luck to the newcomers!

Fong Yuk Yan

April 2007

written by Pinewood Design \\ tags: , , , , ,

Apr 13

Sweet art
Sarah Graham painting childhood memories

Success is sweet for Sarah Graham, who has gone from working on the pick’n’mix counter to being a highly-paid artist.

The 30-year-old makes a living from painting the sweets and toys of her childhood, from Black Jacks and Fruit Salad to Sindy dolls.

Her first job, when she was 16, was at Woolworths in the pick’n’mix sweets section. She’s moved on somewhat and, now, her colourful, photo-realistic oil paintings can sell for up to £10,000.

Miss Graham, who has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, said she was inspired by the Pop Art of the 1960s and 1970s, when Andy Warhol immortalised Campbell’s soup tins amongst other things.

Sarah working

Candy Swirl | Available as print | Original 80 x 110 cm 2008

22. Cowboys and Indians – 50x100cm

24. Gnome with Apples – 90x135cm

10. Sugar Rush – 80x80cm

Betty | Original 110 x 85 cm 2007

Red Riding Hood | Original 90 x 90 cm 2008

Quack | Available as print | Original 120 x 120 cm 2008

19. Camper Vans – 80x100cm

Kaleidascope | Original 120 x 120 cm 2008

4. Refreshers – 60x90cm

Sweets for my sweet | Available as print | Original 110 x 80 cm 2008

3. Swizzel Lolly – 60x90cm

Double Mini | Original 100 x 50 cm 2006

Her brother’s comment on website:
Sarah is my only sister and she painted my son, Leo when he was very young at 3 months old and it takes pride of place in my house. It is an amazing painting and I love it to pieces. It’s so lovely that Leo will have it for always. Everybody who comes to my house comments on it and can’t believe it’s a painting as they just assume it’s a blown-up photograph!
She is really amazing and I love her to bits.

– Elaine Graham, Hitchin, UK

More Sarah Graham‘s works please visit her website. More info please contact her agent Washington Green.

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