Mao (Feldman & Schellmann II.90 - 99)
1928 - 1987
Mao (Feldman & Schellmann II.90 - 99)
The complete set of ten screenprints in colors, 1972, each signed in ball-point pen on the verso and stamp-numbered 8/250 (total edition includes 50 artist's proofs), on Beckett High White Paper, printed by Styria Studio, Inc., and with their inkstamp on the verso, published by Castelli Graphics and Multiples, Inc., New York, unframed (10 prints)
sheets: 914 by 914 mm 36 by 36 in
The prints are in good condition overall; the colors are very vibrant and the sheets are full. The unprinted areas along the sheet edges have slightly darkened with time, there are occasional handling creases and remains of prior hinging along the sheet edges verso. Please contact the Print department for condition notes on the individual prints.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Recognizable imagery such as Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's Soup had already been memorialized by Warhol when he turned his focus to the famous but more controversial figure of Mao Tse-Tung. Other than his recounting of the JFK assassination or portrayals of Jacqueline Kennedy at her husband's funeral, it wasn't until 1972 that Warhol's printmaking took an overtly political turn, first with Richard Nixon's grimacing visage in Vote McGovern and then with the stoic portrait of Mao, depicted in ten screenprints of varying vivid color schemes.
It proved a noteworthy year in the political landscape and this was reflected in Warhol's work. Vote McGovern utilized the picture of Nixon featured on a January cover of Newsweek magazine and the print was published as a means of raising campaign funds, a tribute of sorts to the long tradition of using printmaking for publicity. Likewise, Warhol's Mao portfolio adopted as its source material a photograph emblazoned on an edition of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, first published in 1964. It was also in 1972 that Nixon first traveled to China, heralding a new era of communication between East and West.
Additionally, of note was an aesthetic feature shared by the Vote McGovern print and the Mao portfolio. These marked the first time Warhol's freehand drawing appeared in his printmaking, heretofore compositions created by a compilation of intersecting colors, flattened by the mechanics of the screenprint process. For the first time the overlap was visible, the glossy rather than matte layers could be discerned as they came together on the Beckett High White Paper, a brand name surface. Until then, Warhol's printmaking was simply documented as screenprint on paper. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Mao portfolio is that never before had Warhol executed an editioned screenprint before he executed a painting of the same image. The artist was well known for repetition, and his revisiting of a subject was expected. However, it had always been that a unique work came first, with prints to follow, but with the Mao portfolio, Warhol iconography was conceived initially in editioned form.
The Mao portfolio was a significant project artistically, published in an era remembered for its political and cultural upheaval. Andy Warhol had already become known for his inimitable ability to reduce an icon to a two-dimensional picture or elevate the magnitude of a banal product. The Mao portrait was simultaneously innovative and commonplace as it was Warhol's intention that even the most famous were ripe for mass consumption and that everything was worthy of fame.
Now in a time that feels culturally, politically and technologically unimaginable yet also somehow predictable, we are even more reverential of the defining moments of our past.