LIU DAN (B. 1953)
COLLECTION OF CHARLOTTE HORSTMANN (1908-2003)
LIU DAN (B. 1953)

Ruyi

Details
LIU DAN (B. 1953)


Ruyi

Scroll, mounted and framed
Ink on paper
28.5 x 29.5 cm. (11 ¼ x 11 5/8 in.)
Executed in 1998
Provenance
Gift from the artist
Collection of Charlotte Horstmann
Family collection, USA/Europe

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Angelina Li
Angelina Li

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Lot Essay

Charlotte Horstmann is considered one of the most illustrious Asian art dealers of the last century, and lived an extraordinary life in Europe, Asia and America. Born in 1908 near Berlin, Germany to a Chinese father and a German mother, Horstmann moved to China in 1912 as a young child and received German education in Beijing. Because of her father’s objection to women receiving higher education, Horstmann never went to university but with a good eye and instinct for Chinese art, she soon established herself among dealers, foreign dignitaries and collectors in Beijing in the late 1920s. It was also the age when Chinese art was formally introduced to the world. In 1947 Horstmann launched her first business in Beijing selling costume jewellery, mandarin gowns and embroideries and some paintings. As the political situation in China deteriorated, Horstmann left China for Hong Kong in 1954 where she diversified her business into furniture and clothing, and occupied shops in prestigious locations such as the Peninsula Court and the newly-built Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. With her timeless taste and vision, Horstmann is greatly respected for her contribution to the development of the Asian art market and connoisseurship in the 20th century.
At the time when the painting was executed, both Horstmann and Liu Dan were living in New York and Liu Dan was active amongst collectors and connoisseurs of Chinese art in New York, working closely with Chinese Porcelain Company where his career in the US was launched. Born in Nanjing in 1957, Liu Dan moved to the United States in 1981 to pursue an artistic career. Known internationally for his flower, rock, and landscape ink paintings, Liu Dan is known to have painted only a few Ruyis. Ruyi (“as you wish” in Chinese), is a carved decorative object that serves as a ceremonial sceptre in Chinese culture symbolising good fortune. Liu Dan painted two versions of Ruyi with dedication to Charlotte Horstmann in his inscription. The current painting was gifted to Horstmann in 1998 for her 90th birthday, while the other version remains in the artist’s own collection.

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