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(B. 1948)
Tibetan Girl
signed 'luo zhongli' in Pinyin; signed in Chinese; dated '1988' (lower left)
oil on canvas
61 x 76.2 cm. (24 x 30 in.)
Painted in 1988
Signet Fine Art, Chicago
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1992
Signet Fine Art, New Era in Chinese Painting, Spring 1989 issue, Chicago, USA, 1989 (illustrated, p. 20).

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

By 1978, China was entering a period of opening and reform, and artists began to reflect on issues they had previously been unwilling or unable to discuss openly. Oil painting became a means of engaging in rational discourse rather than a tool of political propagandists as it had been in the past. Thus in the '80s a new art scene emerged with the appearance of a group of realist painters with nationalistic, cultural, and nativist orientations. The Sichuan schools arose during this period and Luo Zhongli was an outstanding proponent of native realism. Following the Home Series-Early Spring of Daba Mountain, Luo Zhongli turned from the realistic depiction of human figures to the real experience of daily life, and from displaying the life of the farmers to exploring the cultural ideology of a nationality.

Created in 1988, Tibetan Girl (Lot 1026) delivers a different visual experience from that of the main stream of art, intertwined and detailed, the brushstrokes Luo used are clean and precise. The color is close to reality at its level of saturation, emphasizing the unadorned indigenousness of the natives in the peripheral areas of China. The misty distant view of the painting is telling of the silence and sparseness of the snowy high altitudes; however, the appearance of buildings has somehow pulled the audience back to reality-the girl, instead of being isolated from the world, has adventured to the land from far distance with a mud jar on her back. Without any traces of weariness and hardships brought about by the tough environment on the girl, we find her fearlessly staring at the audience with her innocent eyes, reflecting the very down to earth and optimistic nature of the Tibetans. Here, the artist shows an idealized rendition of primitive vitality and China's cultural consciousness than a simple depiction of the girl and caught in a moment. As such, Luo's radical humanistic concern with the general population was fully displayed in the innocent visage of the Tibetan Girl .

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