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XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
LOT 1639 FROM A PRIVATE SOUTHEAST ASIAN COLLECTION Huang Manshi (1890-1963) was the younger brother of Huang Menggui (1885-1965), two influential people in Xu Beihong's life, in particular in the South East Asian region where Xu Beihong created many iconic paintings. As General Manager of Nanyang Brothers Tobacco, Huang Manshi became acquainted with many powerful figures through his work. He spoke a number of languages and loved to collect works of calligraphy and antiques. Huang Manshi invited Xu Beihong to Singapore and introduced him to many influential Chinese tycoons in South East Asia, such as Chen Jiageng, for portraiture. Upon Huang Menggui's letter of invitation, Xu Beihong came to Singapore from Paris in the autumn of 1925, one of the many trips he would take to the region which solidified his status and prominence as an artist. When in Singapore, Huang Menggui reserved a small living room for Xu Beihong as a studio at his own house where he also provided accommodation for Xu during his stay in Singapore. It was in Huang Menggui's house that Xu Beihong's numerous ink paintings of fine horses and other important works were born. With the help of Huang Menggui, Xu Beihong became an important icon in Asian art history. Xu saw the Huang brothers as "the most intimate friends in life", calling them "big brother" and "second brother" respectively, as seen in this present painting. After the brothers' deaths, their collection was passed to family as well as to several prominent collectors in South East Asia. Christie's was honored to have auctioned an Important Collection of Paintings from the Huang family on 28 May 2007 (Lot 1121-1155, Fine Chinese Modern Paintings, Christie's Hong Kong). In this work, Xu masterfully uses the freehand brushwork technique to depict his subjects in a natural, realistic and expressive manner. Strong and relaxed, the two oxen are exemplary of Xu's skill at painting from life. Contoured with light ink before the water is dried, the ox is gracefully rendered with anatomical precision as it wades through water, while the moss-covered rocks at the bottom of the painting complement the animals compositionally. This work is a fine example of Xu's realist style, highlighting his training in European academic techniques such as modeling and foreshortening.
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)

Two Oxen

Details
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
Two Oxen
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
One collector's seal by Huang Manshi (1890-1963)
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper
129.5 x 76.7 cm. (51 x 30 1/4 in.)
20th Century

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