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Fernes Land

Fernes Land
signed and dated in Chinese (lower right); signed, dated and titled in Chinese, inscribed ‘130 x 162 cm’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
162 x 131 cm. (63 3/4 x 51 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1987
Private Collection of Juergen Ludwig and Marei Fischer
Private Collection, Asia.
Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition Catalogue, Shanghai, China, 1987 (illustrated, p. 2)
Shandong Fine Arts Publishing House, Chinese Contemporary Oil Painting Masterpiece – Zhan Jianjun, 2000 (illustrated, p. 55)
World Knowledge Publishing House, Ten Masters of Chinese Oil Painting – Zhan Jianjun, 2004 (illustrated, p. 34)
Beijing Imperial City Art Museum, Western Eye: Early Contemporary Chinese Painting, Beijing, China, 2006 (illustrated, p. 46)
Guangxi Art Publishing House, Zhan Jianju, 2007 (illustrated, p. 158)
Shanghai, China, Shanghai Art Museum, China’s First Exhibition of Oil Painting, 1987
Beijing, China, Beijing Imperial City Art Museum, Western Eye: Early Contemporary Chinese Painting, April 2006
Special Notice

This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the correct provenance of Lot 225 should read:
Private Collection of Juergen Ludwig and Marei Fischer
Private Collection, Asia.

Lot Essay

“Bring poetry and glory to the beauty in everyday life with the charm of a distinct pictorial lingo.” - Zhan Jianjun

Born in 1931, Zhan Jianjun has long been recognised in the artistic circle in China. The artist stands out among the third generation painters in the country as a leading figure with a distinct personal style.

Zhan’s art of oil painting has largely focused on portraiture. Admitted into the Western painting department of the National Beiping Academy of Art in 1948, Zhan studied sketching and oil painting under such masters as Xu Beihong and Wu Zuoren. In 1955 he received arduous training in oil painting classes taught by Konstantin Mefodyevich Maximov. A solid technical foundation has enabled him to focus on expressionism and to seek spirituality in the depths of his canvases. After graduating from the painting school of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1953, he continued his postgraduate studies in the Coloured Ink Department (later renamed Chinese Painting Department) under renowned painters including Li Keran and Li Kuchan. Zhan started teaching at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1957 and is currently chairman of the China Oil Painting Society.

Zhan is heavily influenced by Italian expressionist painter Modigliani in his human figure composition. Painted in 1987, Fernes Land is the culmination of the artist’s multiple visits to Tibet. The deceptively simple single-figure composition, as well as the bold and mature use of colours, demonstrates the artist’s emphasis on simplicity, against which the overwhelming atmosphere of the painting stands out. In the centre stands a burly Tibetan girl leaning on the fence, her face resting gently on her right hand and her upper body and neck stretching out, gazing into the distance. The girl’s stylised and elongated body as well as her pensive gaze reveal the artist’s hopes and expectations for the future. Zhan’s “works are always a fusion of his artistic pursuit and genuine feelings towards life in the era”, said Fan Di’an.

“Western expressionism has something in common with Chinese xieyi (freehand) painting.” - Zhan Jianjun

In Fernes Land, Zhan employs “loose brushstrokes” suggestive of the “grand freehand” style. Evocative of renowned Southern Song dynasty painter Liang Kai, Zhan’s brushstrokes are coarse and artless yet accurate, bringing the figure to life in a simple, concise and vivid manner. The work also incorporates hues and textures unique to oil painting, lauding the artist’s pursuit of pure spirituality.

Zhan is particularly fond of the colour red. In Fernes Land, the colour red transcends the realm of politics to become a symbol of thriving life and intense emotion. “The red Tibetan robe, orange fence and golden yellow background overlay each other to create a harmony of colours” (A Deep Fusion – Zhan Jianjun’s Art Of Oil Painting). Like the Fauvist painter Matisse, Zhan employs spontaneous, intense and highly rhythmic brushstrokes, filling canvases with saturated colours that embody his potent emotions. The viewer is taken on a journey through passion and calmness and will always find something to be savoured in the canvas.

"'Drawing' is an action that starts at the brain and the heart and continues through the fingers and the brush. It gives vivid and nuanced expressions to one’s feelings." - Zhan Jianjun

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