LALAN (XIE JINGLAN, 1921-1995)
LALAN (XIE JINGLAN, 1921-1995)

Red and Blue

LALAN (XIE JINGLAN, 1921-1995)
Red and Blue
oil on canvas
146 x 113.7 cm. (57 1/2 x 44 3/4 in.)
Painted circa. 1960s
Private Collection, Europe
Anon. sale, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 6 April 2013, Lot 509
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

The authenticity of the artwork has been confirmed by Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery, Zhao Jialing and Jean-Michel Beurdeley. A certificate of authenticity will be available to the successful buyer after the sale.
Sale room notice
The authenticity of Lot 125 has been confirmed by Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery, Zhao Jialing and Jean-Michel Beurdeley. A certificate of authenticity will be available to the successful buyer after the sale.

Brought to you by

Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Deputy Head of Department

Lot Essay

"My early paintings are full of lyricism and extremely forceful colours; they are a kind of gestural abstraction, close to writing."
- Lalan

In 1957, Xie Jinglan, or Lalan, separated from her long-time partner Zao Wou-Ki. No longer overshadowed by her former identity as anartist's muse, during the 1960s she began to follow her own innercreative impulses and mounted her first solo exhibition at the GalerieCrueze in Paris. Her painting from the 1960s Red and Blue represents this important period in her artistic career, in which she began tointegrate painting, calligraphy, dance, and music into a synthesizedbody of works. During this transformative period, she was, on onehand, in frequent, close contact with figures in the vanguard ofParisian abstract art such as Georges Mathieu and Pierre Soulages.On the other, she developed an artistic vocabulary of her own, basedon traditional Eastern disciplines she had studied since her youth,including epigraphy, calligraphy, and ink painting. She also becameacquainted with Zhang Daqian when he exhibited works in Paris in1960. In 1961, she officially joined the French Society of Librettists,Composers, and Publishers as a composer, and set out to advocateher idea of 'integrated art' (L'art synthèse).

In Red and Blue , a seemingly quiet mass of colour rolls and surges ina storm of motion. It first appears as if a hazy cloud of limpid blue, setoff against the red abyss, is rising and hanging in the air. At a closerlook, each strand of blue smoke twirls and turns gracefully, or as ifwinding, curling tongues of flames are dancing upward. When Lalanfirst arrived in Paris, she was fascinated by the expressive movementsof Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance. In China, the arts ofdancing and painting had converged early on in the traditional styleof 'wild' cursive calligraphy. The style was invented by Tang Dynastycalligrapher Zhang Xu, who took up the brush after a bout of drinkingand found that his writing style expressed “an endless variety, as ifthe gods had lent a hand.” By incorporating this sense of dance-likemotion, the sense of bursting energy, of contraction and release as inMartha Graham's dancing, Lalan forges a union between dance andher paintbrush in Red and Blue.

Lalan's early oil works often feature deep, sombre colours; Red andBlue stands out among those works for its more saturated palette andintense colour contrast. Mixing cinnabar, azure blue, and malachitegreen into her reddish hues, Red and Blue draws on a mysteriousEastern tonal palette to pull the viewer into a distant realm ofmeditation. Whereas Mark Rothko made use of misty blocks of colourto create a sacred space, Lalan's gestural brushwork, reflective of theink-wash medium, lifts the viewer's spirit upward. Jasper blue tonesmix with sunset reds mix, dotted with bits of pure ultramarine bluethat ignite like cool, flashing sparks. The deep, quiet dark tones on theright adds an extra dimension to the painting. Motion and stillness,soft and hard, water and fire, confront and balance each other in thiswork, crystalizing Lalan’s eternal dance of life.

More from Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

View All
View All