An Andy Warhol portrait of Chinese Communist Party founder Mao Zedong has been sold at a historic auction for US$12.6 million in Hong Kong. It is the first time one of Warhol's works depicting the founder of the communist leader has been auctioned and sold in a Chinese territory.
Previously, Chinese officials had stopped versions of the painting being exhibited in its territories, where censors closely guard Mao's image.
The painting, simply titled Mao, was sold to a private Asian collector at a Sotheby's auction — it sold for much less than the US$15 million it expected to fetch.
The portrait was last on sale three years ago in London and its value has since increased nearly 20%.
Sotheby's Asia Chairman Patti Wong said there was continual interest in western art by Asian buyers.
Warhol began his series of silk-screen portraits of Mao in 1972, when ties between then-Cold War foes China and US began to thaw after the historic trip to Beijing by former US president Richard Nixon.
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