LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
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Fine Lin Fengmian Paintings from the Collection of Dr Wong Chun Bong (Lots 1066-1067)
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)

The Four Beauties

LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
The Four Beauties
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
69 x 69 cm. (27 1/8 x 27 1/8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
Dedicated to Zhenbang (Dr. Wong Chun Bong)
Acquired directly from the artist, thence by descent.
Further details
Dr. Wong Chun Bong (Dr. C B Wong, 1942-2019) was a registered general practitioner in Hong Kong who graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1968 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Wong treated patients at Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital. The local community highly regarded Dr. Wong for his superb medical skills and generous personality. Outside of his profession as a medical doctor, Dr. Wong was an enthusiast in sports, travel, and Chinese opera. Dr. Wong was also very committed to philanthropy, providing free medical services to people with needs. In 1970, Dr. Wong married Ms Leung Kwok Ping Lois. The two were together for 49 years and exemplified an excellent example of a happy marriage and partnership in the eyes of their friends and family.
Dr. Wong acquired the two Lin Fengmian paintings (Lot 1066 and 1067) directly from the artist in 1980. In 1973, he travelled to Thailand and met Dr. Ling Po, a fellow medical professional. The two quickly formed a strong friendship that would endure for many decades, extending to their families (fig). Dr. Ling Po, a native of Meizhou, was a cousin of Lin Fengmian. In 1977, when Lin Fengmian was granted permission to leave China to visit his family, he eventually settled in Hong Kong and was in urgent need of financial support. Through Dr. Ling’s introduction, Dr. Wong had the opportunity to meet the artist and commissioned two paintings of any subject matter of the artist’s choice. In 1980, Lin Fengmian completed the two paintings and dedicated them to Dr. Wong on the inscription, a rare practice by the artist as a gesture of gratitude.
One of the paintings, The Four Beauties, is an exceptional composition seldom seen in private or public art collections. Lin expertly applied soothing pastel hues on the four beauties, contrasting the figures with a darker background. The other painting, Goose Flying Over Lotus Pond combines two of Lin’s well-versed subjects. It portrays geese flying over an expansive landscape against a vibrant backdrop of a lotus pond adorned with lush green lotus leaves. These two paintings were displayed at Dr. Wong’s residence for over four decades and now belong to Mrs Wong since Dr. Wong’s passing in 2019.

Brought to you by

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

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Lot Essay

Lin Fengmian was known for his exceptional skill in painting portraits of women, representing a significant portion of his oeuvre. These captivating portraits captured the multifaceted nature of his subjects, often depicted wearing classic Chinese costumes or assuming roles as protagonists in Chinese opera. Whether seated, standing, contemplating, combing their hair, or playing the qin, the women portrayed by Lin exhibited a diverse range of emotions and activities. Most of his portraits feature a single figure; occasionally, he would compose scenes from Chinese opera with two figures. Portraits featuring four female figures are a true rarity among Lin Fengmian’s work. Historically, only two versions are known to exist—the first originated from the YC Gallery Collection (Ciquan Tang), while the second was captured in a photograph by the renowned Hong Kong photographer Chan Chik (fig) in the artist’s residence. Both works were sold in auctions in Hong Kong in the mid-2000s.
With an impeccable provenance that traces its acquisition directly from Lin Fengmian by Dr C B Wong, The Four Beauties presents an invaluable opportunity for collectors to witness and appreciate a remarkably rare and exquisite masterpiece by the artist. In this painting, the four female figures stand side-by-side within a square composition, adorned in delicate and pastel-coloured traditional dresses. Lin Fengmian skillfully portrayed their poses with subtle variations, infusing the painting with a sense of movement and dynamism. The figures’ collective gaze converges towards the centre, captivating the audience’s attention. Lin paid meticulous attention to the background, embellishing it with vibrant and diverse patterns and a lamp, lending depth to the overall composition. It is worth noting that Lin Fengmian’s portraits featuring multiple figures emerged only towards the end of the 1970s after his relocation to Hong Kong. This creative breakthrough may have been influenced by the new and stimulating environment. Compared to the two previous examples that surfaced in the auction market nearly twenty years ago, the present work stands out not only for its exceptional quality in brushwork, colour and the richness of the composition but also for its provenance and a witness to the collector’s encounter with the artist.

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