Mao is a majestic work that brilliantly captures Yan Pei-Ming's painterly bravado. As the first Chinese artist ever to exhibit at the Louvre in 2009, the current lot reveals the artist's on-going dialogue with Eastern and Western history, experience and artistic practices - one that transcends the binary definitions of contemporary Western and Eastern art. With its impressive scale and expressive brushwork in red vermillion, the painting has an intense, larger-than-life physicality. Navigating between official Communist rhetoric and cultural ideologies, Yan's portrayal of Mao Zedong points to a legacy of conflicted relationships - a distillation of both personal and collective experience and memory that are at the core of China's history in the past decades. Mao is a portrait of ambivalence, registering the artist's attempt to grapple with Mao as both an icon of his homeland and as a human being. He appropriates the full frontal composition of the Chairman's official portraits. At the same time, the tight cropping of the compositional frame is reminiscent of common identification photos. Yan's portrait then is a matter-of-fact portrait and un-idealised rendering Mao as an imperfect and mortal being, lugubrious, aged, and somewhat aloof, immediately familiar and yet subject to the same fate as anyone else. Yan's red may read as a blood red, or even communist red, but the artist has always maintained his fondness for the color stems from its cultural meaning in China, as the color representing success, wealth and life. As such, Yan's is a deconstructive and extremely personal portrait of Mao Zedong, one that captures the essence of his influence in the lives of so many, and his fragility as a human being.