Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl, said to be the most widely reproduced and recognisable picture in the world, is set to fetch between £300 000 and £500 000 (between R4.2 million and R7.1m) at an art auction in London.

Tretchikoff is a Russian émigré who settled in South Africa. From the 1950s, prints of this famous work sold widely in South Africa, Britain, Europe and the US. The picture was bought directly from Tretchikoff by an American woman in Chicago when the artist was touring the US in the 1950s.

It has remained in the buyer’s family and is being sold by the woman’s granddaughter. The work will be taken on tour by Bonhams to New York and Johannesburg before its sale.

The sale is to take place on March 20.

The Chinese Girl features a sitting with Monika Pon, the “Green Lady” whose face has adorned millions of sitting-room walls around the world.

Giles Peppiatt, director of South African Art at Bonhams, said the “green-blue patina-like effect of the sitter’s face is uncanny, heightening the red of her lips and framed by her lustrous dark hair”.

In its obituary on Tretchikoff, who died in 2006, the BBC said the Chinese Girl was the highest-selling print in history. - Staff Reporter