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(Chinese, B. 1963)
Jianghu - Encounter
signed in Chinese; dated '2008.10' (lower left); titled and signed in Chinese; inscribed and dated '180 x 130 cm 2008' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
180 x 130 cm. (70 7/8 x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2008
People's Fine Arts Publishing House, Specifics: Xin Dong Wang, China, 2008.
Jilin Fine Arts Publishing House, Chinese Realistic Painting: Xin Dong Wang, China, 2008.
The Chinese Oil Market, China, January 2009.
Shandong Fine Arts Publishing House, Chinese Realistic Painting: Xin Dong Wang, China, 2011.
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, Annual Exhibition of Chinese Realist Painting, 2008.
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, Seeking the Fountain and Pursuing the Path, 2008.
Chengdu, China, New International Convention & Exposition Centre Chengdu Century City, China Narrative: Fourth Chengdu Biennale, 2009.
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, Development and Integration, Research on Contemporary Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition, 2009.
Beijing, China, Tsinghua University Art Museum, New Art, Contemporary Art Exhibition, 2010.
Beijing, China, Tsinghua University Art Museum, Porcelain Painting, 2010.
Sale room notice
Please kindly note that Lot 1461 is titled, signed, inscribed and dated on the reverse.

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Lot Essay

In 1920s, realism was introduced to China by students who studied abroad in Europe. Since then, realism has prevailed and became a significant genre in the history of Chinese modern art. Though vulgarized and formulized as a tool for political propaganda in the 50s, realism was rebuilt and transfused with a distinctive sense of Chinese oil painting after the policy of Reform and Opening-up. It was the result of generations of artists exploring relentlessly. In respect of Xin Dongwang's style, painting from life is the foundation of his realism in quest of the spiritual interaction between the artist and the subjects, which surpasses photorealism. Photorealism as painting from photos weakens the receiving and delivering of people's true feelings. In the Jianghu - Encounter (Lot 1461), Xin reaches the peak of artistic skills and representing atmosphere. Through his adept and natural brushstrokes, we can see Xin's accurate catches of the figures' characteristics without excess description of details. The painting has rich colors and depths, especially on the skins of faces and bodies. On one hand, the tone tending to be red is implying that these real figures have body temperatures and vitalities, matching with the agate green in the background which echoes the figures' stillness. Such comparison between warm and cold tones emphasizes the significance of the subjects. On the other hand, the brushstrokes depicting faces is featuring the mottled roughness in contrast with the plane background. It creates an undulate vision. In this way, the painting is in a perfect balance.
Xin Dongwang is always showing his fondness of depicting common people in his works. Figures in the painting are wearing ordinary sweaters, sneakers and jeans with cans, plastic bottles and bricks scattering on the ground. Not only does the painting truthfully represent the casual and rustic daily images of the Chinese masses, but also conveys that the modern Western material culture has become a standard of common life. Their rigid poses are telling us that they are not professional models. The man on the right may be demanded baring his chest by the artist. His left forearm against his waist is tanned, suggesting that he may not accustom to expose his body in daily life. His eyes is deviating from the audience and staring at the ground, showing his nervous, shy and self-protected mentality. Apart from the depiction of the figure's character, it may be the implicit representation of people's poorness of displaying oneself in traditional China. Nevertheless, the tall man on the left shows no exaggerated body languages and facial expressions but contains calmness and easiness in his eyes. Xin tries to break the objectivity and limitation of photorealism in the aspect of shaping. Thus, figures are slightly compressed. The tall man's arms are especially short and strong as if embracing an inherent spiritual power. More than just being splendid in the comparing of colors, brushstrokes, figures and clothes, Xin touches the spirits of the figures and transfers the abstract emotions into coordinate concrete elements. Unlike the art in the Cultural Revolution which breaks away from reality, Xin Dongwang's style of realism represents contemporary Chinese artists' acknowledgements and rediscoveries of the invaluable worth of humanity and life.

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