• Fine Chinese Modern Paintings auction at Christies

    Sale 2727

    Fine Chinese Modern Paintings

    29 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 555

    QI BAISHI (1863-1957)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    QI BAISHI (1863-1957)
    Appreciating Antiques
    Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
    96.5 37.5 cm. (38 x 14 3/4 in.)
    Entitled, inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
    Dated guiyou year (1933)
    Dedicated to Bannong

    Note:
    Qi Baishi was a rare gem-he was a versatile painter, a gifted poet and an accomplished calligrapher. He enjoyed a long and diverse career, during which he displayed wide-ranging variety and artistic surprise in terms of painting style, composition and subject matter. Appreciating Antiques reflects precisely Qi's painting mastery and is featured in the authoritative Rong Bao Zhai Huapu 73.
    Qi produced few landscape paintings, rarer still are those with figures. Appreciating Antiques was painted when Qi was seventy-one years old and embodies the essence of his artistry: simplistic beauty, fine composition and delicate grace. Qi's inscription in small standard script is not common, and the undulating lines of calligraphy add to the overall beauty and essence of the painting.
    According to his inscription, Qi dedicated this piece to Mr. Ban Nong and painted it in "the old capital Xicheng beyond the west side of the Bridge of Peace." Because it is so special, one can tell Qi paid much attention to its creation and that it was not a mere souvenir for a friend. Liu Bannong (1891-1934), from Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, was a famous writer, linguist, poet and an advocate for China's New Culture Movement. He was also a professor in Beijing University's Department of Chinese Language and Literature, an academic specialist at Fu-Jen University, and a dean in Beijing University's Women's Arts and Sciences Department and Director of Literary and Historic Research Institute of Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Peking University. Having written numerous books and journal articles, Professor Liu remained very close to other prominent writers and politicians at the time, such as Lu Xun and Qian Wantong to name but a few. He remains influential in the field of Chinese literature to this day. Furthermore, Liu Bannong's brother Liu Tianhua was one of China's most influential modern music composers and a famous Erhu performer. Thus, it is not surprising that Qi put in the same passion, precision and thirst for artistic perfection when painting this piece, which is fully reflected in the symbolism and detail of the painting and adds much to the value and rarity of this work of art.


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    Literature

    Rong Bao Zhai Huapu 73 (Paintings Album of Rong Bao Zhai (Vol. 73) -- Landscape Painting by Qi Baishi ), Rong Bao Zhai, Beijing, 1993, p. 27.
    Jin Xiandai Zhongguo Mingjia -- Qi Baishi (Famous Contemporary Chinese Artist -- Qi Baishi), Shanghai Shuhua Publishing House, 2008, p.43.