BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Vladimir Tretchikoff’s original painting the Chinese Girl, thought to be the most reproduced print in the world, was sold on Wednesday at auction in London for nearly 1.5 million U.S. dollars.
The sum, which includes a 12 percent buyer's premium, was around twice what had been predicted by the auction house Bonhams.
It was thought the portrait of a young Chinese girl with green-hued skin and ruby lips would fetch up to 756,000 dollars.
It was bought by British businessman and jeweller Laurence Graff and will go on public display in South Africa, according to BBC News report.
Tretchikoff, who grew up in Russia and Shanghai, eventually settled in South Africa in 1946 and completed the Chinese Girl in Cape Town in 1953.
The Chinese Girl was inspired by the sitter Monika Sing-Lee, who was working at her uncle's launderette in Sea Point, Cape Town when Tretchikoff spotted her and asked her to model for him.
In his 1973 memoir Pigeon's Luck, the artist said he had put his "heart and soul" into a painting he hoped had "caught the essence of Chinese womanhood".
Its popularity led to Tretchikoff, who died in 2006, being labeled the "king of kitsch" -- though his foundation describes him as "the people's painter". (agencies)