In the 1970s, Warhol started to paint Chairman Mao, a fixation that lasted over a decade, ‘I painted Mao about four hundred times. I used to see how many I could do in a day,’ the artist noted. Then 10 years after Nixon visited Beijing in 1972, Warhol made his seminal trip to Hong Kong and Beijing just as Deng Xiaoping began to open China to the global market.
‘These candid shots are dynamic, exciting and fun but also weighty in their historical importance as Warhol was able to immortalise China during a transitional phase in the country’s history,’ said Jonathan Crockett, Head of 20th Century and Contemporary Art and Deputy Chairman for Phillips Asia.
Coming onto the market in their entirety for the first time, this phenomenal collection of black and white photographs captures China’s burgeoning economy through Warhol’s distinctive visual language of repetition and reproduction.
The photographs also reveal the American artist’s inquisitiveness for daily Chinese life and the country’s use of symbolism from the ever-present bicycles to the uniformity of Mao jackets.
See a selection of the exhibition and sale, below.
Warhol in China is on at the Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong until April 2, 2017. The auction will be on May 28, 2017.