JAN 12: Warhol’s Mao

The iconic painting goes up for auction.


The Warhol Mao that goes up for auction on January 12 at Christie’s New York can be distinguished from others in the iconic series by an unusual addition: bullet holes. On a particularly wild night in the early Seventies, the story goes, owner Dennis Hopper caught sight of the art­work on a wall of his home and, mistaking Mao for an intruder, shot at it—twice. A typical collector would surely regret such an act after sober­ing up, but Hopper was not your typical collector. He deemed the damaged print a collaboration between himself and Warhol. And Warhol, a friend of Hopper’s, evidently agreed: Upon seeing the work, he circled the holes and labeled them “bullet hole” and “warning shot.” Though Hopper swore off drink and drugs soon after, he never tired of the eccentric piece. Says his friend Alex Hitz, a trustee of the late actor’s estate, “He always held on to it as a reminder of that period in his life.”

courtesy of Christie’s Images LTD. 2010