NEW YORK — Andy Warhol’s iconic image of Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong, considered one of his most sensational pieces of the 1970s, sold for $17.4 million, a world auction record for the artist, Christie’s auction house said.
The portrait was offered by the Swiss-based Daros Collection, owner of one of the greatest private holdings of Warhol paintings, and was sold Wednesday to Joseph Lau of Hong Kong. It brought in about $5 million more than expected, Christie’s said.
The silk-screen portrait, measuring 81 inches by 61 inches and showing Mao in a dark blue jacket against a light blue background, was part of the auction house’s evening sale of postwar and contemporary art.
Warhol’s 1962 work, “Orange Marilyn,” went for $16.2 million, about $1 million over estimate. “Sixteen Jackies,” from 1964, sold for $15.6 million, which was expected.
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The Daros Collection, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is known to focus on a small group of artists including Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin and Warhol. Its Warhol collection includes “210 Coke Bottles,” “Blue Liz as Cleopatra” and “AtomicBomb.”
Christie’s said the board of the Daros Collection was selling the “Mao” painting “to raise proceeds for future acquisition of prime works from the 1960s.”
“Herr Heyde,” by German artist Gerhard Richter, sold for $2.8 million.
The largest sale of the evening was an abstract 1977 painting by Willem de Kooning, called “Untitled XXV.” It sold for $27 million, a world auction record for postwar art, Christie’s said. The buyer’s name was not released.
The previous postwar record-holder was David Smith’s “Cubi XXVIII,” which sold for $23.8 million at Sotheby’s in 2005. The previous Warhol record-holder was another “Orange Marilyn,” which was auctioned for $17.3 million by Sotheby’s in 1998.
Wednesday’s auction prices include commissions of 20 percent of the first $200,000 and 12 percent thereafter.
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