Signed Warhol print valued at $50K goes missing from Orange Coast College

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Warhol print valued at $50K missing from Orange Coast College
A signed limited edition screen print by pop artist Andy Warhol depicting Mao Zedong has gone missing from a vault at Orange Coast College.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- An Andy Warhol screen print valued at $50,000 is missing from the Orange Coast College campus.

The print by the renowned pop artist depicts Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese communist revolution. Warhol signed the print in 1972 and it's numbered 187 of 250.

The college reported it missing on March 13, according to Doug Bennett, executive director of the Orange Coast College Foundation..

"We were aware a couple months ago that it was there and then about two weeks ago they noticed that it was missing," Bennett said.

Warhol made a series of prints in the early 1970s to celebrate President Richard Nixon's trip to China, Bennett said.

"There had been the Cold War and it was before Nixon got into his troubles with Watergate and that type of thing. There was a huge amount of attention, nationally and globally paid to his visit."

An anonymous donor presented the print as a gift in 2020.

Not many knew it sat stored in the vault of the Frank. M. Doyle Arts Pavilion.

"People on campus knew we took it as a donation, but we had future plans to use it in an exhibition. But we hadn't done that so it wasn't commonly known that we had it," Bennett said.

As Costa Mesa police investigate, staff are spreading word of the print's disappearance, hoping for its safe return.

"I'm hoping someone took it home or that type of thing and with your story and the publicity, they realize that perhaps that was a mistake and just return it to us," Bennett said.

CMPD detectives were on campus Tuesday afternoon. There are cameras throughout the building and on campus. Staff at the community college said police will likely review those recordings as part of their investigation.