Mao

Large painted portrait of Mao wearing eyeshadow, blush, blue backdrop
© 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Large painted portrait of Mao wearing eyeshadow, blush, blue backdrop

Date:

1972

Artist:

Andy Warhol
American, 1928-1987

About this artwork

The most influential of Pop artists, Andy Warhol cast a cool, ironic light on the pervasiveness of commercial culture and contemporary celebrity worship. Early in his career, he began to utilize the silk-screen process to transfer photographed images to canvas, creating multiple portraits of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Jacqueline Kennedy, as well as duplicated images of mass-produced products such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles. In this example from his Mao series, Warhol melded his signature style with the scale of totalitarian propaganda to address the cult of personality surrounding the Chinese ruler Mao Zedong (1893–1976). Nearly fifteen feet tall, this towering work mimics the representations of the political figure that were ubiquitously displayed throughout China. Warhol’s looming portrait impresses us with the duality of its realistic qualities and its plastic artificiality. In contrast to the photographic nature of the image, garish colors are applied to Mao’s face like makeup. The gestural handling of color in the portrait shows Warhol at his most painterly.

Currently Off View

Contemporary Art

Artist

Andy Warhol

Title

Mao

Origin

United States

Date

1972

Medium

Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas

Inscriptions

No inscription.

Dimensions

448.3 × 346.7 cm (176 1/2 × 136 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize and Wilson L. Mead funds

Reference Number

1974.230

Copyright

© 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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