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ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
FROM A PRIVATE HONG KONG COLLECTOR (LOT 1060)
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)

Scholar Reciting Poem after Zhao Mengfu

Details
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
Scholar Reciting Poem after Zhao Mengfu
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
81.5 x 27 cm. (32 1/8 x 10 5/8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with two seals of the artist
Dated spring, xinsi year (1941)

Brought to you by

Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)
Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)

Lot Essay

In the first half of Zhang Daqian’s long and illustrious career, he diligently copied works by ancient masters, especially Zhao Mengfu. Zhang admired the master so much that he had a few of his works in his private collection, as mentioned in the Dafengtang Painting and Calligraphy Catalogue. He observed and learned the technique of Zhao in calligraphy, figure and horse paintings and was particularly fond of his figure paintings. According to the inscription of the current lot, Zhang copied Scholar Reciting Poem by Zhao Mengfu in 1941. Unfortunately, the original work was long lost.
Zhang Daqian inscribed the calligraphy and painted the willow leaves in soft and fine lines, attesting to his earlier style before and during the early 1940s. The features of the figure, such as his face, his clothing, and the application of colour, appear to be closer to Zhang’s mature style after his study in the Dunhuang caves. Apart from the scholar, Zhang Daqian depicted a stream and willow trees in the surrounding, giving depth to the composition. One can see his mastery as he meticulously delineated the scholar’s beard, the outline of his robe, the vibrant colours painted on the shoes and hairband, and the confident expression and gesture of the scholar. Although it is likely that Zhang Daqian just arrived in Dunhuang at the time of painting, the gifted artist already was in transition to give the current figure painting a new and refreshing style. As a witness to this transformation, Scholar Reciting Poem after Zhao Mengfu is a testament to Zhang’s early life as an artist before receiving influences from the Dunhuang cave paintings.

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