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LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
LOTS 1376PROPERTY OF AN AMERICAN GENTLEMANAfter he returned to China from Europe in the 1920s, Lin Fengmian was appointed the president of the Hangzhou National College of Art, pioneering the integration of Western modernism with Chinese traditional painting. In the 1950s, Lin became enthralled with Chinese traditional opera, from Beijing Opera to Kun Opera, resulting in numerous inspirations for his artworks. Opera Figures depicts a famous scene from the Beijing opera, the Banquet at Hongmen. The figure in blue robes and opera mask is Zhang Liang, the trusted aide of future Han emperor, Liu Bang. Lin Fengmian uses only two strokes to represent the eyebrows and nose, as well as a striking slab of colour to depict a figure of shrewdness and valor. The white-faced figure to his right with the shou-character eyebrows is Xiang Yu, the warlord who was eventually defeated by Liu Bang. Lin Fengmian uses a single colour to paint his facial makeup, where the heavy strokes and exaggerated lines emphasise the warlord’s brutal and reckless disposition. As the two figures confront each other against the soldiers in the background, the Banquet at Hongmen reveals itself to be a perilous affair. Here, Cubist and Expressionist techniques are in perfect fusion with the Chinese traditions: the palette is simple and bright; the composition lively and rhythmic.
LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)

Opera Figures – Banquet at Hongmen

LIN FENGMIAN (1900-1991)
Opera Figures Banquet at Hongmen
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
70.8 x 67.3 cm. (27 7/8 x 26 ½ in.)
Signed, with one seal of the artist
Acquired by the present owner from Charlotte Horstmann & Gerald Godfrey Ltd., Hong Kong, in 1987.

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