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Andy Warhol ‘Mao’ screen print, estimated at $50,000, taken from Orange Coast College vault

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Orange Coast College officials have asked the public to help it find a screen print of “Mao,” a 1972 Andy Warhol art piece depicting Chinese Communist Chairman Mao Zedong, which was taken from a campus vault earlier this month, authorities said.

Officials became aware that the screen print, which was valued at $50,000 when it was donated to the Orange Coast College Foundation in September 2020, was missing from the vault at the Frank M. Doyle Art Pavilion on March 13, said Doug Bennett, executive director of the foundation.

School officials filed a report with Costa Mesa police Department, which was investigating along with Orange Coast College’s Campus Public Safety, Bennett said. Costa Mesa police spokeswoman Roxi Fyad confirmed the department had taken the report and was investigating.

To access the vault takes a key card and punching a code into a keypad, Bennett said, adding that it appeared no damage had been done to the vault.

At the time of the donation, officials were told the screen print is No. 187 of about 250 that had been made, Bennett said.

“We’re just hoping that we can find it,” Bennett said, “that perhaps there’s a misunderstanding or someone took it to hang in their office or something like that.”

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“Mao” was inspired by a 1972 visit by then-U.S. President Richard Nixon to China to meet the Communist chairman, “ending years of diplomatic isolation between the two nations,” according to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 1972 and 1973, Warhol “created 199 silkscreen paintings of ‘Mao’ in five scales,” the museum’s website said.

The original Warhol painting sold for $47.5 million at auction in 2015.

Authorities asked that anyone with information on the whereabouts of the missing screen print to call the college’s Campus Public Safety Office at 714-432-5017 or Costa Mesa police at 714-754-5252.

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