The great leader and teacher Chairman Mao Zedong

伟大的领袖和导师毛泽东主席
Weidade lingxiu he daoshi Mao Zedong zhuxi
The great leader and teacher Chairman Mao Zedong
1977, October
Renmin meishu chubanshe (人民美术出版社), Beijing
77x53 cm.
BG E13/123

This is one of many versions of Mao's official portrait. Based on a photograph, it was worked out by a group of artists, who were never identified at the time. The portrait should be Mao, not a work of art created by an artist. For this version, Wang Guodong (王国栋) and Wang Qizhi (王其智) have been named most often. Other artists involved in the official Mao portraits are Zhang Zhenshi (张振仕), Zhang Xiaoyou (张孝友) and Ge Xiaoguang (葛小光).

This version was on Tian'anmen Gate from 1963/1964 to 1967 only, but remained the most popular version as poster. The total print rum is estimated at over a billion (1,000,000,000, i.e. one thousand million), making it perhaps the most reproduced portrait ever. The poster shown here is from the 157th edition of this publisher alone. This portrait was also published as frontispice in the Little Red Book. The American Pop artist Andy Warhol used it as the basis of a series of multi-colored silkscreens in 1972, which became quite popular among Western art lovers.

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