Published: April 4, 2017
HONG KONG — As proof that the Asian art market continues to exhibit strength, Sotheby’s on April 2 in its Modern and contemporary art evening sale set a record for any Western contemporary work of art sold at auction. The overall sale totaled $73.6 million with a sell-through rate of 90 percent by lot and value. It was led by Andy Warhol’s “Mao,” 1973, which realized $12.6 million, including buyer’s premium, purchased by an Asian collector. The selling price makes it the most expensive work of Western contemporary art sold in Asia, and is the third highest price for contemporary art sold by the firm worldwide so far this year.
The painting is one of 199 “Mao” portraits painted by Warhol between 1972 and 1973 following US President Richard M. Nixon’s announcement that he would visit China in July 1971.
Commenting on the sale, Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said, “We are very pleased with theses robust results with an international participation from close to 20 countries. There was strong interest among Asian buyers across the four categories of paintings on offer, including for our top lot, ‘Mao’ by the American Pop art master Andy Warhol, which sold to a Asian private collector. The encouraging result is further evidence of Hong Kong’s role in the global market of contemporary art, and we look forward to enhancing our future offerings of Western contemporary art in Asia.”
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