(Chinese, 1906-1998)
Little Girl and Chrysanthemum
signed in Chinese; dated '44' (lower right)
oil on canvas
67.5 x 52.5 cm. (26 3/8 x 20 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1944
Formerly the Property from the collection of the artist's family
Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
Private Collection, Asia
Painting Publishing House, The Painting of Tsing Hsuan-Fu, Taipei, Taiwan, 1990 (illustrated, plate 9, p. 27).
Lin & Keng Gallery, The Pioneers of Western Art in the Early Republic of China, Taipei, Taiwan, 1996 (illustrated, p. 94).
People's Fine Arts Publishing House, The Painting of Qin Xuanfu, Beijing, China, 2005 (illustrated, p. 19).
Chongqing, China, First Exhibition of Qin Xuan Fu's Oil Paintings, 1945.
Taipei, Taiwan, Lin & Keng Gallery, The Pioneers of Western Art in the Early Republic of China, 1996.
Taipei, Taiwan, Lin & Keng Gallery, Teachers and Students Exhibition ofHangzhou Junior College of Fine Arts: The Cradle of Chinese Modern New Wave Paintings, 17 May-10 June 1997.

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Lot Essay

Stepping into the 40's, the classical realistic composition with precision could still be seen from Yee Bon's paintings, using brilliant and vibrant colours for the light and tone to depict the scene of country and fishing villages which he adored most. Fishing Berth (Lot 1117), 1942, has a steady yet rhythmic composition, with dark green trees stringing out in a long line, dividing the picture freely but neatly into two parts from the middle. The upper part of the picture is a tender sea of overlapping clouds in darkening grey, surging like tides in the sky at twilight, enveloping the khaki mountain range of undulating ridges. In the lower part of the picture, the oval arc-shaped bay harbours the little returned fishing boats. With the sterns all pointing towards the centre of the shallows, and the waves extending from the shore, as well as the sails waiting to harbour in and the arcing path along the shore, the entirety integrates into a radiating composition while responding to the flowing clouds at the top, and converges into an optic point in the centre of the picture, resulting in a visual rhythm like ripples that diffuse from the centre to the periphery.
Yee Bon's concern about the life and customs in the country villages is profoundly reflected in the subject matter of his artworks. Comparing with The Gleaners (Fig. 1), the master piece of the 19th century Barbizon School artist Jean-Fran?ois Millet, which looks like an ordinary village scene where the artist painted a golden wheat field glittering in the background to contrast the image of hard-working village women gleaning for the whole day, Yee Bon's Sowing Seeds (Lot 1116), painted in 1948, also sincerely expressed his utmost respect to the laborers. Through realistic depiction of the village scenes, he fully interpreted the austerity and perseverance of the peasants. Being born into a peasant family, Yee Bon had always been familiar with every detail of village life since he was small, and with the experience of wandering in foreign countries, he was greatly aware of the hardship and bitterness of Chinese labourers working overseas. Therefore, his depiction of the working class that he was deeply concerned about undoubtedly revealed his true sentiments towards them. In Sowing Seeds, distant chimneys slowly emit thin smoke into the sky, merging with the background; the fuscous ridges in the field are neatly and orderly spread under the bare feet of the three farmers at the front. The farmers are strong and stout, collaborating with each other perfectly in the field. They work under the hot sun, dripping with sweat. The artist used the effect of back-lighting to strengthen the solemnity given to the insignificant villagers in the picture. The artwork is full of Yee's sympathy deep from the heart, and with a sense of immense gratitude at heart, he paid his respect to the nameless peasants. Caves Art Center published Yee Bon's Paintings and Documents in 1997, using 1956 as the demarcation of Yee Bon's artworks throughout his life, and this piece which portrays the village life in the southern part of the country was compiled in "The Hong Kong Period" (1935-1956) as an original and stylish representation of his artistic life in the middle phrase.
The Girl (Lot 1118) 1948, reveals the benevolent and warmhearted side of the artist. The general appearance of the picture displays a relatively soft contrast of light and shadow, with the light casting in from the left side, using a clear and limpid colour tone to bring out the soft and tender look on the girl's absolutely translucent face. The girl in the picture has got a vivid and lively posture, her eyes looking slightly away in a timid manner. With regard to the background and the furniture in the picture, Yee Bon chose to use a very simplified treatment and put the focus on the depiction of the girl's eyes and her body movement. The childish, innocent and candid expression of the little girl is portrayed to the fullest under Yee Bon's brisk and smooth brushstrokes. This is an exceptional master piece of the artist, showing something other than his expression of deep love and great care towards the peasants and country.
Although Yee Bon's painting started off from the solid foundation of Western academicism, when it comes to the principle behind his creations, he never got away from the most pristine and genuine sentiments and his devotion to the country and human life. Settling in Hong Kong after leaving the country for ten years, he actively participated in the art world. His paintings, which are of rich national flavour and humanity, injected energy into the art of southern China after the Second World War, laid down a sound and far-reaching foundation for the development of Western paintings in the southern area.

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