Exhibitions/ Art Object

Chairman Mao

Unknown (Chinese)
Retouched by Chen Shilin (Chinese, born 1930)
Person in Photograph:
Person in photograph Mao Zedong (Chinese, 1893–1976)
Gelatin silver print
Image: 30.5 x 23.3 cm (12 x 9 3/16 in.) Frame: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)
Credit Line:
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2011
Accession Number:
Not on view
During his thirty-three-year reign, Mao Zedong’s personality cult was fortified by a series of official portraits in which the aging visage of the Great Leader was painstakingly retouched to project an image of flawless benevolence. This portrait served as the frontispiece to Quotations from Chairman Mao, known in the West as the “Little Red Book,” and was omnipresent in the Chinese landscape during the waning years of the Cultural Revolution. The image achieved fame outside China when Andy Warhol used it as the basis of a series of silkscreens in 1973.
Inscription: Stamped in blue ink, verso BL: [Chinese characters]
[Gary Edwards Gallery, Washington, DC, until 2011]

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