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

The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River

WU GUANZHONG (1919-2010)
The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
135.5 x 67.5 cm. (53 3/8 x 26 5/8 in.)
Two seals of the artist
Hong Kong Auctioneers & Estate Agency Limited, Sale of Modern Chinese Paintings, 14 May 1988, Lot.72.
Paintings by Wu Guanzhong, National Museum, Singapore, 1988, no pagination.
The Complete Works of Wu Guanzhong Vol. VI, Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House, Changsha, August 2007, p.141.
Singapore, National Museum Art Gallery, Paintings by Wu Guangzhong, 10-21 February, 1988.
Post Lot Text
In 1973, Wu Guanzhong, Huang Yongyu, Yuan Yunpu and a few artists received a commission from the Beijing Hotel to collaborate on the monumental painting The Landscape of the Yangtze River. Because of the subject, Wu Guanzhong had the opportunity to go on a sketching trip at the renowned Three Gorges and nearby areas. Although the project did not materialize, Wu made use of the materials from that trip (Fig. 1) to create several large-scale oil paintings of the Three Gorges in the 1970s, two of these are currently in the collection of the National Museum of China (1977) and the Great Hall of the People (1979).
Wu increasingly preferred to paint in Chinese ink and paper in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, Wu painted the Three Gorges subject twice in ink and colour. Apart from the current lot, the other painting was exhibited in his solo exhibition in the US in 1989 (Fig. 2). The two pieces are similar in size but different in composition and brushwork. Comparing his oil painting sketch from the 1950s and his pencil sketches from the 1970s, we can see the likeliness of his compositions. Painted in ink on paper, the artist intentionally constructed a narrow view of the Yangtze River, with towering cliffs opposing from two sides. Wu’s broad, dense ink brushes outlined the contour, while diluted ink washes replace traditional brushstrokes to depict the mountains. Dots of red, blue and yellow pigments scattered on the painting to accentuate the various shades of ink, bringing vitality to the composition.

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Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)
Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)

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Lot Essay

The collection formerly belonged to a European collector who enjoyed Chinese art. During the 1980s and the 1990s, the collector was in Hong Kong and frequented galleries and auctions searching for modern Chinese paintings, with a particular interest in Wu Guanzhong and Huang Yongyu. These paintings are in the market for the very first time, having been in the same collection for more than three decades.

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