'Chinese Girl' Comes to Auction

Vladimir Tretchikoff, the most reproduced artist of the 1950's, will have his Chinese Girl come onto the market for the first time ever. Bonham's London is selling the work in it's March sale of South African art.

This is a great opportunity for art collectors of Art Kabinett social network to obtain this iconic work.

'The Chinese Girl' is the best known work by Vladimir Tretchikoff, a Russian émigré who settled in South Africa.

The original painting will be sold at Bonham's South African art sale on 20 March 2013 at their New Bond Street location for an estimated £300,000 to £500,000. The work will tour in New York and Johannesburg before the sale (dates below).

Said to be the most widely reproduced and recognizable picture in the world, from the 1950s, prints of this famous work sold widely in South Africa, Britain, Europe and America.

The picture was bought directly from Tretchikoff by an American woman in Chicago when he was touring the US in the 50's.

It has been in the same family ever since and is being sold by the original buyer's granddaughter. The work will toured by Bonhams to New York and Johannesburg prior to its sale.

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 (and that doesn't include smaller print versions): today you can also find mugs, wallpaper and assorted other Chinese Girl paraphernalia.

In their obituary to Tretchikoff (who died in 2006), the BBC confirmed that the 'Chinese Girl' was indeed the highest-selling print in history.

Even as early as 1961, a BBC presenter made the following assertion (as related in Pigeon's Luck, the artist's life story): "Which painting do you think is the most famous in the world? Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'? Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus'? Gainsborough's 'Blue Boy'?... Before you answer, let me tell you you're wrong. It's the green-faced 'Chinese Girl' by Tretchikoff."

The 'Chinese Girl' is inspired by the sitter Monika Sing-Lee, who was working at her uncle's launderette in Sea Point, Cape Town when Tretchikoff spotted her and asked her to model for him.

Clearly, Tretchikoff had a personal investment in the work. Having spent many years as a child in Harbin (the Russian-founded town in Manchuria) after his family fled Russia, he later moved to Shanghai where he worked in advertising and commercial illustration until 1934.

Tretchikoff's appraise has risen exponentially in the art market, due to both the re- evaluation of his legacy in exhibitions such as Tretchikoff: The People's Painter, at IZIKO South African National Gallery (2011), and his appearance on the world stage at auction at Bonham's.

A new world record was recently achieved at Bonhams with the semi-nude portrait painting, 'Portrait of Lenka (Red Jacket)', featuring Tretchikoff's lover and muse, which sold for £337,250.

Tour dates for 'The Chinese Girl':

New York:
Bonham's, 580 Madison Avenue

Saturday 9 Feb 2013 12:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10 Feb 2013 12:00 - 17:00
Monday 11 Feb 2013 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 12 Feb 2013 10:00 - 17:00

Everard Read Galler, 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Saturday 23 February 9am to 1pm
Monday 25 February 9am to 6pm
Tuesday 26 February 9am to 6pm