Andy Warhol’s Mao 125A is based on the image of Mao Zedong, a Chinese Communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. He is regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history. Although a controversial individual, he is praised for modernizing China and turning it into a world power by promoting the status of women and improving education as well as other accomplishments. Additionally, Warhol’s fine detail of Mao’s features enables one to identify the prominent figure even with minimal context. The splash of indigo placed on Mao’s face makes it a signature Warhol work with the pop of color.
Mao 125A by Andy Warhol as Part of his Larger Body of Work
After President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 and the inevitable buzz it created in the press, Warhol was inspired to create a series of prints that would immortalize the image of the Chinese leader. Warhol noticed parallels between U.S. media and Chinese propaganda. For example, there were similarities between the following of movie stars in the West and Mao Zedong in the East. Seeing these in a strange likeness, Warhol produced his Mao portfolio in a fashion reminiscent of his portraits of American celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, transforming him into a worldwide pop icon.