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  • Provenance

    The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Nicholas Chambers, Michael Frahm and Tony Godfrey, eds., Warhol in China, Germany, 2014, p. 307 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Gee it’s big.”
    “It’s more impressive than I could have imagined.”Andy Warhol, quoted in Christopher Makos, Andy Warhol China 1982, China, 2007, p. 63, 66.

    Andy Warhol’s first unfettered encounter with the image of Chairman Mao came exactly 10 years after he began experimenting with sequences of Mao portraits in 1972. Arriving in Tiananmen Square in 1982, Warhol saw, firsthand, Mao’s portrait—his first real and proper impression of the Chairman aside from the one he lifted from Mao’s Little Red Book.

    “I love his book. I read it all the time. I like the simple thoughts.”
    Andy Warhol, quoted in Christopher Makos, Andy Warhol China 1982, China, 2007, p. 63.

    Posing with Christopher Makos outside the Forbidden City for a photograph, Mao’s face hangs behind Warhol, blurry but still presiding. “Andy actually thought the real Mao portrait was better than his, and really loved the original,” says Makos. Filled with ironic confidence, Warhol’s various comments upon coming face-to-face with the subject of his multitudinous works shaped the present collection’s photographs. Set against seas of men and women in their blue Mao suits, the Chairman’s notions of simplicity, uniformity, and conformity are at the heart of Warhol’s almost indistinguishable snapshots of myriad cultural landmarks: the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Temple of Azure Clouds, Beihai Park, the Summer Palace, and the Fragrant Hill Hotel designed by I.M. Pei. Transformed into the nebulous and nondescript locales, the present works are at times paired with equally inconspicuous titles, and all works are given equal treatment no matter their original fame or inherent importance. In this light, the present collection becomes an in-depth interplay of origin versus appropriation and transformation.

    From his large canvases of Marilyn Monroes to his repeated dollar bills, repetition to Warhol was the means through which to describe the notion of mass production in society. He was attracted to the Chinese text on signs and billboards during his trip for their foreign and abstract forms, such as can be seen in Chinese Characters (Lot 3) and in other works he had created. Perhaps it was this very curiosity in Chinese culture that perpetuated him to respond to what he was seeing by internalising and then externalising his impressions. Stretching his arms out wide, opening up his chest and lengthening his back, as seen in Lot 14, Warhol was in fact mimicking the people he saw outside of his hotel window doing ‘taichi’, a common and well-loved activity of the Chinese everyday life. From the numerous Chinese characters on billboards (Lots 12, 13, 15, 17, 23) to mass produced bicycles, buses, and cars (Lots 15, 16, 18) to rubbish bins, (Lot 2) to the very first department store established in China (Lots 7, 17), Warhol not only captured the moment of the rising consumerist culture through his camera lens, but the way he compressed every snippet of his short four day excursion into a patchwork of repetitive shots suggests that his experience of being in China was mass-produced in itself.
    Like his Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles and Brillo soap pad boxes, Warhol’s fascination in ideas of abundance, the rise in consumerism, and the cult of celebrity culture is what truly shines through in the present body of photographs from China, be it of Mao, of its people, or of its monuments.

  • Artist Bio

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Andy Warhol was the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects, such as Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

    Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably also a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

     

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14

Andy Warhol

1982
Blindstamp credit in the margin. Initialled ‘T.J.H.’ by Timothy J. Hunt of the Andy Warhol Foundation in pencil, estate copyright credit reproduction limitation and date stamps on the verso.
Gelatin silver print
Image: 20.3 x 25.4 cm. (7 7/8 x 10 in.)
Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed in ink by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Estimate
HK$120,000 - 180,000 
€14,700-22,000
$15,400-23,100

sold for HK$275,000

Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Sale
+852 2318 2026

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

Warhol in China

Hong Kong Auction 28 May