Artist Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff, a South African artist (1913-2006) painted this oil called ‘Chinese Girl’ in 1951 and it sold a couple of days ago for a staggering £982,050. It was sold at The South African Sale auction in London. It is a widely reproduced painting and his art prints were enormously popular in the 1950s and 1960s. He is the highest-selling art print artist in history.
The girl in the painting was inspired by his sitter Monika Pon-su-san (née Sing-Lee), who was working at her uncle’s laundrette in Sea Point, Cape Town when Tretchikoff spotted her and asked her to model for him in 1951. He painted two portraits of her: one in which she wears the golden tunic as seen in the painting and other in which the tunic is blue and pink (based on one she owned).
Tretchikoff said about the painting: “I still cannot explain the mystery of my painting… I would never have believed anyone who told me in advance that one day I would paint a picture that would appeal literally internationally. Somehow perhaps I caught the essence of Chinese womanhood…”.