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Andy Warhol “Mao” Print Goes Missing From Californian College

The screenprint of Andy Warhol’s 1972 “Mao” series has gone missing from the Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.

The news was first broken by Southern California News Group, revealing that the painting was found missing on March 13. The screenprint was donated to the Orange Coast College in September 2020. Since then, it was stored in a vault at the M. Doyle Art Pavilion on the campus.

Doug Bennet (executive director, Orange County College Foundation) said: “We’re just hoping that we can find it, […] that perhaps there’s a misunderstanding or someone took it to hang in their office or something like that.” Bennet further shared that the Public Safety Department of the campus is internally investigating the matter, while a police report was also filed with the Costa Mesa police on March 20.

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Andy Warhol was well-known for his painting series that depicted prominent figures in various colors. Some of these include Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Mona Lisa. The Mao prints are one of the more sought-after ones, with one painting fetching $47.5 million in a 2015 Sotheby’s auction. While the missing object was a screenprint, not a painting, it still could fetch millions in the open market. Warhol created the “Mao” series in 1972, after being fascinated by Chairman Mao Zedong. He used the photograph of Mao that was distributed throughout China as part of CCP propaganda. In a little over a year, Warhol created 199 paintings and 10 screenprints for the series.