ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
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ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)

Ancient Temple in Misty Mountain

ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
Ancient Temple in Misty Mountain
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on gold paper
44.5 x 174.5 cm. (17 1/2 x 68 3/4 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with five seals of the artist
Dated spring, dingwei year (1967)
Dedicated to Xuelao (Wang Shih-Chie, 1891-1981)
Acquired directly from the artist, thence by descent.
Further details
Wang Shih-Chieh (1891-1981), courtesy name Xueting, was born in Wuchang of Hubei province. Wang was a renowned scholar of constitutional studies and an educator in the Republican period. He previously served as the Minister of Education and Foreign Affairs and was later appointed Director of Academia Sinica in 1962. Wang’s passion for Chinese paintings began in 1936 when he served in the Ministry of Education and was also an ex-officio member of the National Palace Museum. He started to collect paintings and became one of the most important collectors of Chinese painting in Taiwan. The Cool Food Observance by Su Shi, now in the permanent collection of the National Palace Museum, was purchased by Wang Shih-Chieh from the family of Japanese collector Fusajiro Abe in the late 1940s or early 1950s and was later gifted to the Museum by the Wang family. Sharing the same passion for calligraphy and painting, Wang was closely associated with Luo Jialun, Zhang Qun and Zhang Daqian; together, they appreciated paintings at frequent social gatherings.

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Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)
Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯) Vice President, Head of Department, Chinese Paintings

Lot Essay

Zhang Daqian’s Ancient Temple in Misty Mountain was created in 1967, during the pinnacle of his creativity in the splashed-ink genre. At this time, Zhang typically painted his works in portrait format to cater to an overseas audience. However, unlike his usual practice, Zhang painted the present lot as a horizontal scroll. In this unique composition dedicated to his friend Wang Shih-Chieh, Zhang applied ink splashes in varying shades to depict an undulating mountain landscape where houses and waterfalls are faintly visible and intertwined. The tree trunks are delineated with light ink strokes, while the rest of the painting is layered with ink and colour washes, creating a misty atmosphere imbued with spirit resonance.

Wang Shih-Chieh was a well-known figure in Taiwan, commemorated for his contribution to art and culture, particularly his purchase of Su Shi’s Cold Food Observance which was acquired by the National Palace Museum from Wang’s family. Zhang Daqian, Wang Shih-Chieh, and important political figures such as Chang Chun and Chiang Fu-Tsung loved to gather and share their passion for art. In 1967, Zhang Daqian gifted the present lot to Wang while he was residing in Brazil, in which the artist expressed his nostalgia for his homeland fully in the inscription.

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