NEW YORK – There are a few images that come readily to mind when considering Andy Warhol’s body of work and one of them is certainly that of Mao, which the artist first began to create in the early 1970s. The image Warhol used in the Mao prints comes from the photograph that appeared on the cover of Quotations from Chairman Mao-Tse-Tung and the project came to fruition as a direct consequence of Nixon opening up China to the West. “I have been reading so much about China,” Warhol once said. “They’re so nutty. They don’t believe in creativity. The only picture they ever have is of Mao Zedong. It’s great. It looks like a silkscreen”
ANDY WARHOL, MAO, 1972. TEN SCREENPRINTS IN COLORS.
ESTIMATE $900,000–1,200.000. PRINTS & MULTIPLES | 23–24 NOVEMBER.
For Warhol of course, repetition was key, and his continual return to series and to the same imagery has left a host of images as indelible marks in our collective unconscious. Much of his work produced since the 1970s draws on consumer, celebrity or political culture. The now iconic Mao portfolio marks the first project in which Warhol created prints and paintings of a subject at the same time. Previously he would develop a print composition only after having explored the subject in his paintings. A rare set of ten screenprints of Mao will be offered in the Prints & Multiples auction in New York on 23–24 November.