signed in Chinese, dated '06.10.30' (lower right)
oil on canvas
40 x 55 cm. (15 3/4 x 21 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2006
Private Collection, Asia
Wuhan Rongbaozhai, Playing and Drawing: Trip to Russia Group Exhibition, Wuhan, Hubei, 2006 (illustrated, p. 16).
Wuhan, Hubei, Fine Arts Literature Art Center, Playing and Drawing: Trip to Russia Group Exhibition, December 2006.

Lot Essay

Leng Jun’s hyper-realistic approach renders a distinct voice in the contemporary Chinese art community. Leng’s earlier works raised issues about the oblivion of spiritual pursuits under the negative social environment, resulting from industrial civilization. In recent years, the artist shifted his artistic focus back to classics and embarked upon his exploration in traditions, as reflected in his Museum Series . Sculpture, therefore, marks the crucial transitional phase between his two distinct periods. A departure from his previous emphasis on the definitive and detailed display of a single subject, Leng looked into to the interaction among narrative elements to grasp the vivid rhythm of the overall composition.

In Sculpture , Leng Jun provides an exquisite and detailed rendering of the bronze sculpture with delicate brushstrokes, spreading the lifeless silence after the battle throughout the canvas, while the only sound left are from the horse’s neighs and tiring footsteps. This work evokes of Still-Life with Symbols of the Virgin Mary by Dirck de Bray, a Dutch Golden Age painter of the 17th century, portraying his subjects in a narrative totality with balanced composition. Hundreds of years ago, the artist enlivened the painting with rose and olive branch; nowadays, Leng Jun also demonstrates the vitality emanating from his work, bringing the bronze to life.

Leng’s use of wet-on-wet technique skillfully captures the cold and reflective color of the bronze sculpture. By damping the canvas with poppy seed oil, the artist takes full advantage of the oil’s slow-drying and translucent quality to carefully mix with his paints, which enhances the nuances of color and avoids the build-up of an overly thick paint layer. Leng applies strokes of umber with tinges of gamboge, pine green and crimson to juxtapose with subtle shades of violet and bring out the warm undertone of his cool palette. While gently blending his paints into the canvas, Leng highlights the work with hints of white when the painting is still wet. His masterly manipulation of color as well as light and shade heightens a dramatic sense of contrast.

More from 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)

View All
View All