Saturday, May 31, 2008

Finnish artist Helen Schjerfbeck’s The Dancing Shoes was hotly contested and eventually sold - to a round of applause - for £3,044,500, against an estimate of £500,000-700,000. This was a new record for the artist at auction and also a new record for a work by any Finnish artist at auction. © Sotheby's Images.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s had successful sales of 19th Century European Paintings (which includes German, Austrian & Central European Paintings), Orientalist Art and Scandinavian Art at Sotheby’s in London. The series of sales brought a combined total of £19,518,450, a sum well towards the upper end of pre-sale expectations (£14,761,000-21,174,000) and new auction records were set across the board.

This morning’s Orientalist Sale realised £8,060,225 (pre-sale estimate was £6,201,000-8,613,000) and the cornerstone of the sale was a monumental masterpiece by the pre-eminent Turkish artist Osman Hamdy Bey entitled A Lady of Constantinople which sold to a private collector for £3,380,500. This was the highest price of the day and also a sum which not only represented a new record for the artist at auction but also set a record for any Turkish painting at auction.

The Scandinavian Sale achieved £5,192,900 (pre-sale estimate was £3,257,000-4,744,000) and this sale was led by a seminal work by the Finnish artist Helen Schjerfbeck, entitled The Dancing Shoes. The Dancing Shoes was hotly contested and eventually sold - to a round of applause - for £3,044,500, against an estimate of £500,000-700,000. This was a new record for the artist at auction and also a new record for a work by any Finnish artist at auction.

The German, Austrian and Central European Sale also performed well achieving £3,746,250 (pre-sale estimate was £2,573,000-3,830,000) and the star lot among this group was Joseph Anton Koch’s Heroic Landscape with Rainbow, which brought £1,812,500 – a new auction record for the artist. This painting was purchased by Konrad Bernheimer for Colnaghi.

The various 19th Century European Paintings section of the sale brought £2,519,075 (pre-sale estimate was £2,730,000-3,987,000).

Friday, May 30, 2008

Jeff Koons: First Major US Museum Survey in Fifteen Years at Chicago's MCA


Jeff Koons, Jim Beam - J.B. Turner Train, 1986. Collection of Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson. © Jeff Koons.

CHICAGO.- The contemporary artist and provocateur Jeff Koons is one of the most well known and intriguing artists of the 20th century. The seductive surfaces, luxurious scale and quality, and flawless execution of his works – many of which have become icons, such as Rabbit, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, and Puppy – transform everyday objects and fantasies into high art. After presenting the first survey of Koons’ work in 1988, the MCA is revisiting the work of this seminal figure in contemporary art, exploring his powerful influence on contemporary art and his significance for a new generation. The exhibition Jeff Koons, on view May 31 to September 21, 2008, is his first major US museum survey in fifteen years and will only be presented in Chicago.

Jeff Koons worked closely with the MCA to create a carefully selected survey focusing on his most iconic works from the 1980s to the present. The exhibition reveals relationships between the artist’s works both through and across series, surveying Koons’ career from the celebrated sculptures of the 1980s to new paintings completed in 2007. One of his most recognized recent pieces, Hanging Heart (Blue/Silver), will hang from the MCA's atrium ceiling as a centerpiece to the exhibition.

Koons mirrors society's obsession with popular culture and negates simple divisions between appearance and reality, surface and depth, and art and commodity. With roots in Pop, Conceptual, and Minimalist art, Koons models his sculptures on consumer products and manipulates store-bought items to dramatize mass-produced cultural objects while exposing the subtleties of marketing. But unlike his 1960s predecessors, Koons’ agenda is to address people’s psychological investment in consumer objects and how these objects are designed to seduce. “My work,” says Koons, “will use every possible opportunity. It will employ all possible tricks and do everything – really everything – to communicate and win the viewer over.”

The exhibition features iconic works from each of Koons' series: Pre-New and New “I have always used cleanliness and a form of order to maintain for the viewer a belief in the essence of the eternal, so that the viewer does not feel so threatened economically. When under economic pressure you start to see disintegration around you. Things do not remain orderly. So I have always placed order in my work not out of respect for Minimalism but to give the viewer a sense of economic security.”

The first two series, Pre-New and New, draw upon the American public’s desire for new consumer products. Referencing methods of display in retail stores and museums, Koons mounted mass-produced consumer goods such as Hoover vacuum cleaners, and placed them within airtight Plexigas vitrines as if preserved artifacts. Koons elevation of everyday objects to symbols of desire explores cultural value judgments and the public’s quest for status, permanence, and “the new.”

Equilibrium - “The show was about equilibrium, and the ads defined personal and social equilibrium. There is also the deception of people acting as if they have accomplished their goals and they haven’t: ‘Come on! Go for it! I have achieved equilibrium!’ Equilibrium is unattainable; it can be sustained only for a moment. And here are these people in the role of saying, ‘Come on! I’ve done it! I’m a star! I’m Moses!’ It’s about artists using art for social mobility. Moses [Malone] is a symbol of the middle-class artist of our time who does the same act of deception, a front man: ‘I’ve done it! I’m a star! ... And the bronzes were the tools for Equilibrium that would kill you if you used them. So the underlying theme, really, was that death is the ultimate state of being. What was paralleling this message was that white middle-class kids have been using art the same way that other ethnic groups have been using basketball -- for social mobility.”

Created in 1985 for his first solo exhibition, Equilibrium, the show included basketballs floating in display tanks, along with cast bronze lifesaving gear, a diver’s vest, an inflatable lifeboat, and a snorkel. Framed advertising posters of American basketball heroes wearing Nike clothing and surrounded by basketballs continue the artist’s examination of consumption and the desire for lasting perfection. Similar to the New series, the tanks and the bronze works cannot fulfill their intended function; however, Koons changes the objects’ materiality to make connections between objects, their economic and cultural value, and public perception.

Luxury and Degradation - “Coming from these wombs and the masculine color of Equilibrium, all these internal areas, Luxury and Degradation is much more sociological. I just rode the subways here in New York. And I would go from one economic area, from Harlem, to the other, Grand Central Station. I got the whole spectrum of advertising. You deal with the lowest economic base to the highest level. I realized how the level of visual abstraction is changing. The more money comes into play, the more abstract. It was like they were using abstraction to debase you, because they always want to debase you.”

In this series, exhibited in 1986, Koons presents a view of consumerist decadence by appropriating images and objects related to the marketing and consumption of alcohol. Luxury and Degradation features precisely reproduced paintings of liquor advertisements and stainless steel alcohol-related items ranging from children’s toys to Baccarat Crystal sets. The series reflects a variety of consumer income levels and tastes that are united in a desire for status and power through conspicuous consumption.

Statuary - “This was to show that if you put art in the hands of a monarch, which Louis XIV was a symbol of, it would become reflective of their ego, and eventually become decorative. And if you put art in the hands of the masses, which Bob Hope was a symbol of, that eventually art would become decorative. And if you put art in the hands of Jeff Koons, it will eventually reflect my ego and also eventually become decorative.”

Similar to Luxury and Degradation created the same year, Koons conceived of Statuary as a panoramic view of society. The sculptures, all made of stainless steel, draw from a range of art historical themes and sources from the bust of Louis XIV, to the figure of Bob Hope, to an inflatable bunny. For Koons, stainless steel simulates the economical security of luxurious objects. Because he aims to address the entire social spectrum with his art, he uses the democratic material of stainless steel rather than bronze or gold which historically have been materials associated with the elite social classes.

Banality - “I don’t see a Hummel figurine as tasteless, I see it as beautiful. I see it and respond to the sentimentality of the work. I love the finish, how simple the color green can be painted. I like things being seen for what they are. It’s like lying in the grass and taking a deep breath. That’s all my work is trying to do, to be as enjoyable as that breath.”

The works in Koons' Banality series in 1988, made in porcelain, ceramic, or poly-chromed wood, draw on images and icons in popular culture and often combined people and animals with ambiguous sexual undertones such as in Pink Panther. While the series continues Koons' use of common objects in the New series and his use of kitsch in the Statuary series, Banality offers a distinct shift in scale. Enlarged, these monumental works challenge the relationship Koons questioned earlier between art and commodity, as well as between sublime art and banal taste, and valuable sculpture and cheap kitsch.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Picasso Retrospective From The Picasso Museum in Paris Opens in Abu Dhabi Today

Picasso Retrospective From The Picasso Museum in Paris Opens in Abu Dhabi Today


A person observes paintings made by Pablo Picasso in an exhibit that just opened in The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Photo: EFE / Ali Haider.

ABU DHABI.- The retrospective, one of the most exhaustive and ambitious shows on Picasso to date, brings together over 400 works from this singular collection. The pieces, which came from the artist’s personal collection, are Picasso’s own “picassos” – works he was determined never to relinquish. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, etchings, notebooks and a selection of 20 documentary photographs from the painter’s own archives will be exhibited outside of the Parisian museum while extensive reform and expansion work requiring the partial closure of the Hôtel Salé is being completed.

PICASSO 1 - 1895-1924

The genesis of Picasso’s work is represented in the collection by works such as The Death of Casagemas (1901), an indication of his innate fascination with Expressionism, the Self-Portrait (1901) and La Celestina (1904), iconic pieces from the Blue Period. The first signs of Iberian influence can be detected in his Self-Portrait from 1906, which evidenced his departure from the codes of academic painting. The important painted studies for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) —Seated Nude and Woman with Clasped Hands— or Three Figures Under a Tree (1907-1908), masterpieces from his “Black Period”, are accompanied by a series of drawings that shed light on every stage of the Proto-Cubist revolution.

A series of works revolving around the sculpture Head of a Woman (Fernande) from 1909 reveal the semantic invention and technical blending involved in the process of forging the Cubist style. The large diptych consisting of Man with a Mandolin and Man with a Guitar (1911-1913), examples of analytical Cubism, show the simultaneous deconstruction of space, form and colour. The unique set of pasted papers, clippings, collages and constructions produced from 1912 to 1914, interconnected by several hundred drawings, constitute the body of his most radical investigations.

The Painter and His Model (1914) posed a new question about figuration inspired by popular imagery, postcards and studio photography. Portrait of Olga in an Armchair (1917) illustrates how the plastic acquisitions of pasted papers are annexed through the painting to create a great portrait. His works from the years 1919-1923, which featured a return to the techniques of sanguine, pastel and charcoal, depict themes inspired by the frescos of Pompeii or Primaticcio’s decorative motifs at Fontainebleau in the form of monumental drawings on cloth (Three Woman at the Fountain and The Spring, 1921). This culminated in the great painting masterpiece The Pipes of Pan (1923), which marked the end of Picasso’s second “classical” period. The portraits of his son Paulo, born in 1921, perverted the styles of Velázquez and Manet.

PICASSO 2 - 1924-1935

A very extensive series of cloths, drawings and etchings allow us to trace the stages of the Surrealist period, from the first works such as The Kiss (1925), The Painter and His Model(1926) or the Guitar (1924) made of sheet metal, tin and wire, to the 1928 Workshop/ Studio series in which the shadows of the painter, the model and his representation dialogue with each other.

Contemporaries of the wire sculptures of the Design for a Monument to Apollinaire (1928), these works culminated in the linear sculpture Woman in a Garden (1929), of which the bronze piece belonging to the MNCARS is exhibited (the Musée Picasso Paris owns the same work in iron sheet metal). The virulent colour palette of the small 1930 votive Crucifixion presaged the mythological drama that would obsess Picasso in the following decade. The collection boasts an ample range of works from the prolific thirties, in which the Surrealistic principle spawned a new species of creatures and chimeras such as The Acrobat (1939) or Figures on the Sea-Shore (1931), whose metaphorical rules are exemplified in both the series of small bathers and the sand paintings or sculptures made from plaster moulds and imprints. Between 1930 and 1934, Picasso’s Surrealism was expressed in the extraordinary series of works dedicated to the figure of Marie-Thérèse Walter, as powerfully evidenced in his large nudes such as the 1934 Nude in a Garden revealing the influence of Ingres, or the female Heads and Busts sculpted in Boisgeloup between 1929 and 1931.

PICASSO 3 - 1933-1951
The polychromatic portraits of Dora Maar, the allegorical works The Weeping Woman and The Suppliant pertaining to the context of Guernica or Cat Catching a Bird (1939), were channels that the artist used to express that dedication. The series of Still Lifes, Melancholies and Vanities from the war period, together with the large allegorical sculptures Head of a Bull (1942), Death’s Head (1943) and Man with a Ship (1943), denounced this new massacre of the innocents.

PICASSO 4 - 1947-1972

THE POSTWAR WORKS are infused with the theme of joie de vivre. The series of paintings from the 1950s blend diversity and uniformity in colour to lend the artist’s everyday life a uniquely Picassian interpretation of pop culture. In 1950-1951, this also incorporated the polysemic bestiary invented from waste materials and household objects. Picasso’s work as a ceramicist is also present in a selection of the collection’s 108 unique pieces (1929-1962). The Studio of La Californie (1956), painted in memory of Matisse and as a tribute to Delacroix’s Women of Algiers, or the series of Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe After Manet testify to the important project of reinterpreting the history of painting that Picasso embarked on at the time. Finally, through the figures of the musketeers, bullfighters and musicians and the large nudes and embraces that populated his final works, Picasso addressed the themes of Rembrandt, Titian and Velázquez in an attempt to push the pictorial dynamic to the limits of its capacity.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Une visite à St. Paul de VENCE

Click to play 'allo 'allo from St. Paul de VENCE
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008



The big spring auctions in New York get under way this week, with the most stellar lots of Impressionist and modern art hitting the block in evening sales at Christie’s on Tuesday, May 6, and Sotheby’s on Wednesday, May 7, followed by evening sales of post-war and contemporary art at Sotheby’s on May 13, at Christie’s on May 14, and at Phillips, de Pury and Co. on May 15, 2008.

Though everyone is expecting a slowdown -- the Wall Street Journal titled its preview report on the sales “Nervous in New York” -- observers also note that the top end of the market could escape the weakness that is already being reported in the nether regions. The overall estimate for two weeks of sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s is $1.3 billion-$1.8 billion, according to WSJ writer Kelly Crow, about the same as the totals tallied in the big sales in November 2007 ($1.6 billion) and May 2007 ($1.3 billion).

While the sales feature fewer lots, prices for individual works seem to be getting higher. At Christie’s, the sale is led by a Claude Monet landscape, Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil (1873), which sold in 1988 for $14 million (to Manhattan dealer David Nahmad, Crow reports) and now carries an “estimate on request” of $35 million. Also on the menu are a six-foot-tall Auguste Rodin bronze of Eve (1881) (est. $9 million-$12 million), a nine-foot-tall Alberto Giacometti standing woman (1959-60) (est. $18 million) and four drawings by Egon Schiele (with one estimated to sell for as much as $1.2 million).

Sotheby’s Imp and mod sale is built around Fernand Léger’s Étude pour “La Femme en Bleu” (1912-13) (est. $35 million-$45 million) and Edvard Munch’s 1902 Girls on a Bridge (est. $24 million-$28 million). The auction also boasts Pablo Picasso’s painted bronze sculpture of a crane from 1951-52 (cast in an edition of four) (est. $10 million-$15 million), a trove of four sculptures and one painting by Alberto Giacometti (the last being estimated at $10 million-$15 million), and a cache of four Giorgio Morandi still lifes (carrying a presale high estimate of $1.2 million).

In the contemporary arena, both houses are leading with their strengths, that is, works by artists who have only just recently reached new highs during the last quantum leap in auction prices. At Christie’s, the contemporary sale boasts an Andy Warhol Double Marlon (1966) (est. $30 million), a Francis Bacon self-portrait triptych (est. $25 million-$35 million) and Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) (est. $25 million-$35 million).

Sotheby’s has an impressive Bacon triptych (est. $70 million), a classic Mark Rothko painting in red and orange (est. $35 million), plus works by all the big draws, from Jean-Michel Basquiat (est. $9 million-$12 million) to Tom Wesselman (est. $6 million-$8 million).

At Phillips, de Pury & Co., the plan is once again for a double-barreled sale, with a benefit auction for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles kicking off at 6 pm, followed immediately by the evening contemporary sale. The cover lot is a white marble self-portrait by Jeff Koons (est. $6 million-$8 million), and another top lot is a painting of a Fallen Angel by Basquiat (est. $8 million-$12 million). The rest of the sale is rich in works by artists whose prices have recently jumped into the six figures -- Hernan Bas, Mark Grotjahn, Wangechi Mutu, Rudolf Stingel and Banks Violette.

Will the art market take a pause in the coming two weeks? Tune in later and see. Meanwhile, during last month, the auction houses have been reporting good results across a range of sales -- plenty of new auction records, but larger numbers of unsold lots as well. For example:

* Sotheby’s London sale of Indian art on May 2, 2008, totaled £4,289,775 ($8,474,022), well above the presale estimate of £2.4 million-£3.4 million. Indian art “is a market on the move,” said Sotheby’s Zara Porter-Hill. In all, 97 of 123 lots sold, or almost 80 percent, with records set for 11 artists, including Subodh Gupta (for an oil painting -- £264,500 / $522,493), Rabindranath Tagore (£144,500 / $285,445), Jitish Kallat (£58,100/ $114,771) and Ambadas (£36,500 / $72,102).

* Christie’s Dubai sale of modern and contemporary art on Apr. 30, 2008, totaled $20,062,850, a new record for the category. Of the 198 lots offered, 166 sold, or 84 percent. The market for works by Iranian and Arab artists is definitely expanding -- the sale set 71 new record prices, and the top ten lots all went to private buyers.

The top lot of the sale was Parviz Tanavoli’s The Wall (Oh Persepolis), a six-foot-tall bronze tablet covered with hieroglyphs, which sold for $2,841,000, a new world record price for any modern Iranian artist at auction, and the highest price for a work of art sold at auction in the Middle East. Records were also set in the top ten for Charles Hossein Zenderoudi ($1,609,000), Mohammed Ehsai ($1,161,000), Abdul Kadir Al-Rais ($385,000) and Faramarz Pilaram ($385,000).

* Phillips, de Pury & Co. London held its inaugural design sale on Apr. 24, 2008, totaling £2,282,513 for 169 of 244 lots sold, or 69 percent. The top price of £168,500 was paid for Marc Newson’s Black Hole Table (2006) -- one of an edition of ten -- made of carbon fiber and featuring a triangular tabletop with holes sinking into the legs in an uncanny evocation of the interstellar phenomenon.

Other top lots included Ron Arad’s polished stainless steel Big Easy sofa (£90,500), an oak and leather folding chair from 1956 by Hans Wegner (£60,500), a chandelier of dangling raffia and strings of Swarovski crystals by the Campana Brothers (£48,500) and a 1953 chest of drawers made in walnut root by Gio Ponti (£48,500).

* Christie’s New York sale of Russian art on Apr. 18, 2008, totaled $17,595,738, with 253 of 294 lots finding buyers, or 86 percent. The top lot was a pastoral 1896 painting by Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin, The Forest Clearing, which went to an anonymous buyer for $3,177,000, well above the presale high estimate of $1,400,000.

* Sotheby’s New York sale of European art on Apr. 18, which also included a concentration of about 90 Orientalist lots (the first dedicated Orientalist sale in almost a decade), totaled $26,377,050, with 173 of 291 lots finding buyers, or under 60 percent. The top lot was William Bouguereau’s portrait of a little girl sitting on the ground with a bowl of porridge, Le Déjeuner du Matin (Morning Breakfast), which sold for $2,057,000, above the presale high estimate of $1.5 million.

New auction records were also set for Jehan-Georges Vibert ($1,497,000), Rudolf Ernst ($1,273,000), Walter Gould ($1,217,000), Arthur Von Ferraris ($1,049,000), Clemente Pujol de Gustavino ($157,000) and Federico Barolini ($61,000).

* Phillips, de Pury & Co.’s pair of photo auctions on Apr. 9, 2008, totaled $1,529,850, with less than 50 percent of the 206 lots finding buyers, and $1,739,550, with more than 62 percent of the 83 lots finding buyers. Top lots included Peter Beard’s Giraffes in Mirage on the Taru Desert, Kenya, which sold for $325,000, a record for the photographer.

New auction records were also set for photographs by Andreas Feininger ($46,600), Sebastiä Salgado ($17,500) Wols ($12,500), Rene Magritte ($11,250) and Ellen von Unwerth ($10,000).

Statens Museum for Kunst Published New Book: Frames, State of the Art

Statens Museum for Kunst Published New Book: Frames, State of the Art


Francesco Guardi., The Bucintoro Festival of Venice (1780-1793)
1760-70 SMK Foto.

COPENHAGEN.- A forgotten chapter of art history is given new life in a new, major book from Statens Museum for Kunst. The first of its kind, the book offers an in-depth, colourful introduction to the history – in terms of art as well as of ideas – of the picture frame from medieval times to the present. The book is published to tie in with the current, critically acclaimed exhibition Frames. State of the Art at Statens Museum for Kunst.

Out of the shadows
The frame has always seemed fated to be appreciated for its function rather than for high visibility. This has consigned the frame to an existence on the peripheries of not just the paintings, but of art history itself. Now, Statens Museum for Kunst takes steps to remedy that situation with the anthology Frames. State of the Art, a book which sheds light on the many and varied styles, often picture-perfect, found within the world of picture frames. The book is an ideal companion to the museum’s current exhibition about the history of the picture frame, one that delves even deeper into what can only be termed an all-new area of study.

Without precedent
In Denmark, Frames. State of the Art is the first book ever to address the history, aesthetics, and technique of the picture frame. Even in an international context the book is remarkable. Featuring articles by various specialists, the book offers a kaleidoscopic analysis of the picture frame, providing perspectives from numerous angles, several of them all-new.

Book facts
Concept: Henrik Bjerre.
Introduction: Karsten Ohrt.
Essays by Mogens Bencard, Beate Knuth Federspiel, Jacob Thage, Carsten Thau, Jannie Henriette Linnemann, and Henrik Bjerre and texts by José Ortega y Gasset and Henrik Søndergaard.
The book also contains an extensive glossary of specialist terms.

248 pages, more than 250 colour illustrations.
Hardcover. Available in Danish and English editions.
ISBN 978-87-92023-11-7
Price: DKK 299,-. The book is available from the museum bookshop.

Christie's Unveils One of the Most Important and Most Valuable Works by Andy Warhol

Christie's Unveils One of the Most Important and Most Valuable Works by Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol, Mao. Synthetic polymer, silkscreen ink and acrylic on canvas 176 1/2 x 136 1/4 in. (448.3 x 346.1 cm.) Painted in 1973 © Christie’s Images Ltd. 2008.

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.