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  • Press release
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  • Hong Kong
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  • For immediate release
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  • 29 March 2021

Christie’s Hong Kong Chinese Paintings Department Presents Exceptional Masterpieces From The Classical To The Modern Age

Live Auction | 26 & 27 May

Previews

Beijing | 24 – 25 April

Shanghai | 28 – 29 April 

Taipei | 1 – 2 May

Hong Kong | 20 – 25 May

ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)

Temple at the Mountain Peak

Hanging scroll, ink and colour on gold paper

127.3 x 63 cm. (50⅛  x 24¾ in.)

Dated 1967

Estimate On Request

HONG KONG -  From classical masters to modern pioneers, Christie’s will offer an outstanding collection of coveted masterpieces for auction on 26th and 27th May. These masterworks represent pivotal moments in Chinese art history, with timeless works from leading Qing dynasty artist Zhang Zongcang, to 20th century masters such as Zhang Daqian, Wu Guanzhong, Fu Baoshi, and Li Keran.

Kim Yu, International Specialist Head of Chinese Paintings Department, commented: “The incredible selection of masterpieces showcases some of the most important paintings by iconic Chinese artists. These works span multiple eras and celebrate the highest levels of artistic achievement in Chinese history. We are honoured to be offering such a sensational line up of works this May, and look forward to convening global collectors together at this important moment in the art market.”

The leading highlight of the season is the magnificent Temple at the Mountain Peak by Zhang Daqian (Left). Painted on luxurious gold paper and splashed in rich and vibrant mineral colours of blue and green, this monumental splashed ink painting was created in 1967 and is considered one of the most representative examples during the artist’s residence in Brazil.

The work has a storied past and was previously in the collection of Li Zulai and his wife Li Deying. Zhang Daqian and Li Zulai had an intimate friendship, to the extent where Zhang relied on the Li family to oversee his commercial development from 1949. The Li family also helped organize the exhibition Recent Paintings by Chang Dai-Chien at the Hong Kong City Hall in 1971.

The work is grand in scale and unique in that it was specially mounted in Zhang Daqian’s studio in Japan with luxurious Japanese patterned silk fabric and decorated with a tailor-made blue-and-white cloisonné scroll knob with the artist’s seal “san qian da qian”, which translates to “three thousand Daqians”.

Also offered this season is a masterpiece from the classical period, Wutong Studio in Autumn by Zhang Zongcang (Top of next page) - one of the most favored artists by the Qianlong Emperor during the Qing Dynasty.

The exquisitely painted handscroll depicts the idyllic surroundings of Wutong Studio, a noted structure in the Old Summer Palace. The artist used sophisticated dry brushwork to deliberate the textures of the mountains and rocks. At the centre of the painting is a scholar dressed in red, possibly the Emperor, graciously contemplating while getting ready to read or study.

ZHANG ZONGCANG (1686-1756)

Wutong Studio in Autumn

Handscroll, ink and colour on paper

32.5 x 150 cm. (12 ¾ x 59 ⅛ in.)

Estimate: HK$55,000,000 – 75,000,000 / US$7,100,000 – 9,600,000

This work was once part of the Qing imperial collection and was published in the authoritative catalogue Catalogue of the Paintings and Calligraphy in the Imperial Collection Part III (Shiqu Baoji Sanbian). Emperor Qianlong inscribed a poem on the painting and imprinted many imperial seals on it, further confirming the importance of its artistic value to the Emperor and his court.

An additional highlight is Chess Playing by Fu Baoshi (below Left). This classical composition stands as one of the greatest examples of the artist’s sublime skill in figure painting during the Jingangpo period when the artist resided in Chongqing.

Fu Baoshi expertly depicts historical figures in an elegant yet animated manner as the three figures play chess deep in the forest – a theme that is rare in his oeuvre.

The painting comes with strong provenance, having been in the renowned private collections in Hong Kong and Macao, as seen in the collectors’ seals of Huang Weixiong and Deng Cangwu from the 1960s – 1970s.

A further highlight is Li Keran’s iconic political painting A Million Strong Across the Yangtze (below Right). The work was created on the advent of the fifteenth year of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It is the artist’s interpretation of Mao Zedong’s poem People’s Liberation Army Captures Nanjing, depicting an army of battleships in the foreground, while the sight of Nanjing city can be seen through the stormy weather in the distance.

Fu Baoshi (1904-1965)Chess PlayingScroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper87.5 x 59.3 cm. (34 ½ x 23 ⅜ in.)Dated 1943Estimate: HK$40,000,000 – 50,000,000 / US$5,100,000 – 6,400,000

Fu Baoshi (1904-1965)

Chess Playing

Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper

87.5 x 59.3 cm. (34 ½ x 23 ⅜ in.)

Dated 1943

Estimate: HK$40,000,000 – 50,000,000 / US$5,100,000 – 6,400,000

Li keran (1907-1989)A Million Strong Across the YangtzeScroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper62.8 x 55.2 cm. (24 ¾ x 21 ¾ in.)Dated 1964Estimate: HK$25,000,000 – 30,000,000 / US$3,200,000 – 3,800,000

Li keran (1907-1989)

A Million Strong Across the Yangtze

Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper

62.8 x 55.2 cm. (24 ¾ x 21 ¾ in.)

Dated 1964

Estimate: HK$25,000,000 – 30,000,000 / US$3,200,000 – 3,800,000

Notes To Editor

Preview:
Beijing | 24 – 25 April | No.82 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Shanghai | 28 – 29 April | Ampire Building, No. 97 Yuanmingyuan Road, Shanghai
Taipei | 1 – 2 May | Grand Space, Marriott Taipei, 3F, No. 199, Lequn 2nd Road, ZhongShan District, 
                                Taipei
Hong Kong | 20 – 25 May  | Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, No. 1 Harbour Road,
                                             Wanchai, Hong Kong

Auction:

Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy
Date : 26 May 2021

Fine Chinese Modern and Contemporary Ink Paintings
Date : 27 May 2021

Location: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, No. 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

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