'Chinese Girl', The Mona Lisa Of Kitsch May Fetch $750,000 At Auction

Category: Media & Culture / Mar 19, 2013 12:11PM EDT
With her startling copper green face and the sparse background, 'Chinese Girl' may not be the most obvious masterpiece -- but it became one of the best-selling prints of all time and is expected to raise up to 750,000 USD (500,000 GBP) at auction, Bonhams said on Monday (March 18). The once obscure portrait by Russian Vladimir Tretchikoff, painted in 1951, is to be sold at auction in London on Wednesday (March 20) by Bonhams. The picture was bought directly from Tretchikoff by an American woman, Mignon Buhler in Chicago when he was touring the US in the 1950s. It has been in the same family ever since and is being sold by the original buyer's granddaughter. In 1954, Buhler paid 2,000 USD for the piece. "It was painted in 1953 by Vladimir Tretchikoff and for his tour of the US of that year and he took it on tour of the US and it was quite well received out there. He then sold it at the end of that tour to a family in Chicago and really there it remained but before doing that he had taken some prints of the work and I suppose that's how its fame came out because these prints were the best-selling fine art prints in the world," said Giles Peppiatt from auction house Bonhams. Tretchikoff himself claimed that by the end of his career he had sold half a million large-format reproductions of the 'Chinese Girl' print worldwide. Today, 'Chinese Girl' mugs, wallpaper and other associated paraphernalia are widely available. Video Source: Reuters