It was not that long ago, Soviet and Nazi Realism in art philosophically was in direct opposition to anything politically and socially abrasive from the Avant Garde movement. Perhaps it is a sign of the more relaxed times now with the death of Hitler, the falling of the Iron Curtain and freer trade links with China, and a desire for the eclectic, that a space has appeared in the market place for items from Mao Zedong’s 1966 Cultural Revolution in China.
The irony here of course, according to Simon de Burton of the Financial Times, is that during China’s Cultural Revolution, untold quantities of antiques (which would have included antique furniture, paintings and books from earlier periods in China’s history) were destroyed, and in its wake appeared a new genre of art that tied in with the message of the new order. And far from these propaganda antiques being of inferior quality as one might think, the Chinese artists of the time were under pressure from the government to produce well presented (and complimentary) facsimiles of Mao for the largely illiterate masses.
Artefacts and antiques from Mao and the Arts of New China Sale are being sold at Bloomsbury Auctions on the 5th November. As often happens when one political junta finishes and another begins, the new often attempts of eradicate the old and as before, many items were destroyed following the death of Mao in 1976. Thus any surviving items are now rare and it will follow that their value will rise because of it.
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