Vladimir Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl is one of the world's most recognisable and reproduced art prints, and now Bonhams will offer the chance to own the original work as part of its South African sale.
The 1950 piece will be sold on March 20 in London, with an estimated price of £300,000-500,000 ($473,370-$788,950). The world record for Tretchikoff's work was set at Bonhams in October 2012, when his Portrait of Lemka (Red Jacket) sold for £337,250 ($541,349).
Tretchikoff was a Russian artist who settled in South Africa. The painting depicts Monika Sing-Lee, a launderette worker whom Tretchikoff spotted in Sea Point, Cape Town and asked to model for him. Her identity was only revealed in 2010, when Boris Gorelik's book, Incredible Tretchikoff, was published.
The BBC confirmed that Chinese Girl was the best-selling print in history in its 2006 obituary of the artist, although as early as 1961, a BBC presenter was quoted: "Which painting do you think is the most famous in the world? Before you answer, let me tell you you're wrong. It's the green-faced Chinese Girl by Tretchikoff."
According to Bonhams, just over 100 Tretchikoff works have appeared at auction in the past 20 years, marking a resurgence in the artist's popularity. The value of his work has risen considerably following the 2011 exhibition Tretchikoff: The People's Painter, at the IZIKO South African National Gallery.
Bonhams also attributes the rise in popularity to the "nostalgic aura of the works", with Gorelik stating: "Take the 'Chinese Girl' for example: millions of people - perhaps your parents or grandparents - bought a litograph of this painting, hung it on their wall and admired it for years, if not decades. Maybe even you grew up looking at it. And today you can get the real thing - the original canvas."
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a number of original artworks for sale, including two extremely rare pieces from Damien Hirst - an opportunity to own a unique example from the world's most talked about artist.
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Images: Wikimedia Commons