Please note the below additional PROVENANCE:
Lot 608, 29 November 2009, Fine Chinese Modern Paintings, Christie’s Hong Kong.
Post Lot Text
In 1950, with the assistance of Luo Jialun, Zhang Daqian held an exhibition in New Delhi, India. He was attracted by the scenery of Darjeeling and decided to stay. Works from this period are marked with great exuberance, including the present work completed in the autumn of 1950. Though Zhang Daqian is well known in his painting of female portraits, those in Indian dress are rare, and this current pieces exemplifies Zhang’s punctiliousness about the execution of his figures’ hair and drapery of clothing.
Zhang’s portraits of women are imbued with a softness of touch, painted in fine but robust lines, with eyes that exude tenderness yet hold a firm gaze. Wrapped in a sari, Zhang’s Lady in Indian Dress is executed with lightness, with a small section of the lady’s midriff visible through the layers of silk, as the figure is balanced on either side with red flowers. Zhang Daqian first learned to paint female figures through copying works by Ming and Qing artists such as Tang Yin, Gai Qi, Fei Danxu, and Ren Yi. His later style owes much to his time in Dunhuang, as he refined his execution of figures, the use of colour and the depiction of clothing, resulting in portraits exuding elegance and grace.
Despite the elegant and meditative qualities in Zhang’s paintings of the period, his time in India was a lonely one. Having spent a year furiously creating with only his gibbons as companions, he returned to Hong Kong in 1951 to reunite with his family.
This painting was dedicated to Liu Liangnian, who first met Zhang Daqian in the 1930s. During Zhang Daqian’s trips to Macau from Hong Kong in 1949 to arrange for his family’s transit through Gongbei, he was received by Liu with great hospitality. Their friendship continued over the decades to come. When Zhang returned to Hong Kong in 1951, Liu Liangnian organised a big banquet to welcome him for which Zhang was overjoyed.