Phillips has released its Frieze Evening sale (Oct 5) catalogue which is led by a Warhol, 20 Pink Mao’s (£4 – 6m.) So far this year, the Warhol market has been very, very quiet. The Warhol is guaranteed by a third party (?) which makes it an interesting choice on the house’s part to jump start this market.
Continuing their quest to be the house of Bradford, the sale also features a guaranteed Mark Bradford painting from 2011 at £1.5-2m and a Rudolf Stingel from 2007 (which doesn’t seem to be guaranteed) at the same level.
20 Pink Mao’s by Andy Warhol was executed in 1979 and is offered at auction for the first time having been in the collection of the current owner for over a decade. Thought to be the rarest of Warhol’s ‘Reversal series’, and arguably the most significant, these portrayals of Chairman Mao demonstrate a shrewd recalculation of one of the world’s most ubiquitous portraits. Warhol first began creating paintings of Mao in 1972 using a widely circulated photograph from the Little Red Book, a pocket-sized index of quotations, thoughts and citations from Chairman Mao. The late 1970s and early 80s was a pivotal time for Warhol, forming a period of self-reflection that pushed him in critically rigorous and aesthetically potent new directions. It was then that he turned to his own oeuvre as a resource for new creative output; amalgamating earlier series’ into single Retrospective canvases, revisiting the themes of his formative Dollar Bill works with an entirely fresh iconography, and creating his ominous series of Shadows that engaged with the subtle traces that all things leave behind. In the Reversal series, Warhol made his most direct and profound interventions using the most significant icons from his corpus such as Marilyn Monroe, the Mona Lisa, the Electric Chair and Chairman Mao. This self-appropriation casted a new perspective on the images that seemed most familiar of all.