Andy Warhol's Mao (1973) up 22.9% pa at Sotheby's London

Andy Warhol's Mao (1973) was among the highlights of a contemporary art sale at Sotheby's London on February 12, achieving £7.5m ($12.4m).

This equates to growth of 22.9% pa on the £421,500 ($632,218) it sold for at Sotheby's London in 2000.

Mao Warhol Sotheby's London
Mao is one of a series of paintings of the dictator produced by Warhol in the early 1970s

The work is one of a series painted in the early 1970s that subverts the official portrait of Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao.

It draws parallels between the extensive reproduction of Mao's portrait and the Western mass media, a theme that is at the heart of Warhol's work.

In November last year Warhol's Silver Car Crash achieved $105.4m at Sotheby's New York, setting a new record for his work at auction.

Jean Michel Basqiat's Tenor (1985) made £4.3m ($7.1m) yesterday.

The piece is typical of the artist's work at the time, which made extensive use of collage. Crows, skeletal masks and rodents are combined in a singularly doom-laden composition.

In May of last year, Basqiat's Dustheads set a new artist record, achieving $48.8m at Christie's New York.

Head on a Green Sofa, a painting by Lucian Freud, sold for £2.9m ($4.9m).

Lucian Freud Green Sofa
Freud himself considered the painting to be among his finest

The portrait dates to 1960-1961 and depicts Lady Belinda Lambton, a lifelong friend of the artist, who is shown reclining on a sofa.

Oliver Barker, Sotheby's senior international specialist for contemporary art, explained prior to the sale that the work was one of only a small number to come to auction, and "marks a moment of cataclysmic change in Freud's artistic style and practice and sees him embark on a new way of painting which was to define his career."

The auction also featured an important work by Gerhard Richter and set a new record for a painting by Cy Twombly.

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