The Collection of Robert Shapazian
Mao Zedong (1893-1976), deemed the Father of Modern China, remains one of the most significant and iconic political figures of the Twentieth Century. In a seemingly cult like fashion, his philosophy bore a nation of Communist believers which subsequently led to the nations admiration of Propaganda Art.
It was in the early 1940's, during the Yan'an rectification, that Mao's influence on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was recognized. Through this, Mao undertook a "thought- reform campaign" in his hopes of obtaining a guarantee of obedience from the CCP. Soon after, coming to the realization that he could not rely on disciplining through incessant warfare, he implemented techniques of brain washing by influencing the culture visually- notably through art.
Never in the history of world politics has an entire nation been inundated with propaganda from every angle so the presence of Chairman Mao and his leadership left a deep impression. This began gradually through posters and various sculptures that illustrated his god-like aura. Mao's stature is emphasized in this propaganda art, by his looming presence- standing above a crimson landscape with rays of gold bursting from behind him, as if emulating Apollo's attributes of sun: light and truth. Following his posters, came an abundance of statues in different sizes.
It was through Chairman Mao's efforts that he won the confidence and the loyalty of modern China and around him grew a mystique that illustrated that he could do no wrong, even when endorsed programs proved to be obvious failures. Art for the sake of "Revolutionary Thought" became a national policy that everyone followed, and heroic themes echoed from posters, prints and paper, in decorative art such as ceramics and porcelain, utilitarian products, and eventually developing into a serious cult worship that still exists today. It is through this that Christie's is able to offer The Collection of Robert Shapazian.