Breaking news – Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl has just broken the auction record for the artist’s work at Bonhams London.
The piece sold for a whopping £982,050, eclipsing the previous £337,250 record by a considerable amount.
You may be forgiven for thinking that you have never heard of Tretchikoff, or his so-called Chinese Girl, but this famous work is actually one of the world’s most reproduced prints. It’s so popular, it stands alongside Andy Warhol’s most iconic efforts and that stencil of Che Guevara. Take a look for yourself:
Recognise it? It’s likely that, if you were around in the seventies, at least one of your friends or family members had a poster of this on the walls of their home.
However, despite its apparent popularity, it certainly divided opinions in the PFC office today. Half of us recognised its importance, while the other half held the same opinion that the art world once had of Tretchikoff – he’s the King of Kitsch and will always be so, no matter how much he sells for.
And it seems that the sitter herself, Monika Pon, was also less than impressed by Tretchikoff’s final piece. The Chinese laundrette worker from Cape Town, who is now 80 years old, told The Guardian newspaper: “I’m not green! I didn’t understand what it meant. I told him and he said, ‘What don’t you like?’ I said, ‘I don’t like the green, it makes me look ill.’”
Apparently Tretchikoff just laughed off her criticism. He also paid her just £6 for six weeks of sitting in front of his students.
However, Boris Gorelik, a well-known and respected authority of Tretchikoff explained the painting’s appeal for collectors: “Millions of people – perhaps your parents or grandparents – bought a lithograph of this painting, hung it on their wall and admired it for years, if not decades”. And who doesn’t want to say they own the original of an artwork that everybody recognises? A powerful sense of nostalgia combined with the status the piece affords its new owner were surely the main factors in this purchase.