LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
FROM THE FAMILY COLLECTION OF MR CHEN CHI CHANG (LOT 1065)
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)

Opera Figures

Details
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
Opera Figures
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
65 x 65 cm. (25 5⁄8 x 25 5⁄8 in.)
Signed, with one seal of the artist
Post lot text
THE LIFE OF LIN FENGMIAN
Lin Fengmian was one of twentieth-century China’s most importantmodern artists, achieving a unique synthesis of Chinese and European approaches to painting. Educated in France from 1919 to 1925, he was among the first Chinese painters to be exposed to the avant-garde trends that swept post-war Europe. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the artist passing this year, we are presenting a body of works by Lin Fengmian from different periods of his life, sourced from collections all over the world. These paintingscover some of the most iconic subject matters and compositions, such as Opera Figures (Lots 1065, 1142, 1198), Seated Lady (Lot 1139-1141, 1147), Landscape (Lot 1064, 1146), Birds and Flower (Lot 1063) and Still Life (Lot 1143). They testify to the artist’s rich and diverse artistic career. We hope to celebrate the life of a Chinese painting giant through these paintings.

Brought to you by

Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)
Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯) Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of Sale

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Lot Essay

Born in 1908 in Shanghai, Mr Chen Chi Chang was engaged in steel import and distribution businesses before the 1950s. In the 1970s, Mr Chen and his son, together with their business partner Mr Liu Hao Tsing, fully acquired Ferchemicals, a company established by Montedison in 1956, and became the Asia exclusive agent for Montedison & Isagro. With a few other business partners, Mr Chen and Mr Liu established Chinese Arts & Crafts (HK) Limited in 1959. The emporium quickly became the centre stage for promoting Chinese art and culture through the sales of Chinese paintings, jades, carvings, embroideries and other Chinese works of art in Hong Kong. Through his association with Chinese art, Mr Chen had acquired a keen eye for beautiful objects and amassed an exceptional personal collection of paintings. The current lot, Lin Fengmian’s Opera Figures, is a prime example of the masterpieces from his collection.
Opera Figures is rare amongst Lin Fengmian’s depictions of Chinese opera scenes as the composition consists of four figures. The artist painted four actresses in a vivid but coordinated manner, with their eyes looking toward the centre of the painting whilst each figure has her unique posture and movement. Lin painted his figures in minimalistic plane shapes of distinct, bright colours against layers of fluid and translucent fabric of the costumes. The visual effect is easily relatable to Cubism, a lifelong influence on Lin’s art. The almost concealed lotus lantern in the foreground leads us to deduce that the opera scene is likely Lotus Lantern, one of the artist’s favourite subject matters in his Opera Figures series. This painting is typical of Lin’s artistic style in the 1950s and the 1960s, differing from his bolder, more expressionistic paintings in his later years. One can easily share the artist’s pursuit of harmony and elegance in this period through this painting.

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