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WU GUANZHONG (1919-2010)
WU GUANZHONG (1919-2010)

Rice Paddies

WU GUANZHONG (1919-2010)
Rice Paddies
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
93.4 x 84 cm. (36 3⁄4 x 33 1⁄8 in.)
With two seals of the artist
The Master Artist of Contemporary Chinese Painting: Wu Guanzhongs Exhibition, Seibu Department Store, Tokyo, 1988, p.27, pl. no.11.
The Complete Works of Wu Guanzhong Vol. VI, Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House, August 2007, p. 132.
Tokyo, Seibu Department Store Gallery, The Master Artist of Contemporary Chinese Painting: Wu Guanzhongs Exhibition, August 1988.
Post lot text

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Lot Essay

The terraced rice paddies filled with water reflect a lot of light. Natives of Sichuan call them mirror paddies. Whose reflection can be seen here? The sky. The paddies are not just filled merely with water. They also reflect the marvellous sky where the light and the clouds linger on.”
Wu Guanzhong

Born and raised in the richly arable land of Jiangsu, the ubiquitous terraced rice paddies were ingrained in Wu Guanzhong since his childhood. In addition to the houses of white-wall and black-tile roofs common in the area, rice paddies are one of his perennially favourite themes. Sichuan natives call rice paddies “mirror paddies.” In the early 70s, Wu Guanzhong went to Sichuan and Guangxi to paint the outdoors. He was especially fascinated by this scenery—a conflation of the natural and the artificial—which led to the creation of a series of works with this motif. While he has done compositions in oil, since the late 70s, he had chosen to work exclusively in ink and colour. He claimed that “Perhaps this somewhat eschews the colour variation between water, light, and sky, but it avoids the stagnation of oil, with more control over the swiftness and intricacy of lines. This enables a new dimension and tone, which is why I often transplant the rice paddies in oil paintings into ink and colour ones.”
Whether for its large scale or its compositional abundance, the present lot is an exceptional work of Wu Guanzhong’s rice paddies theme. The brushwork and colour palette, both fresh and elegant, are accentuated by the light green dotted and washed throughout to render the terraced rice paddies and the reflections. This fantastical scene is further articulated by Wu’s abbreviation of scattered dwellings, abstraction of distant mountains, and layered rice paddies—all together to form a harmonious symphony of dots, lines, and surfaces “where the light and the clouds linger on.”

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