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Hanging scroll, ink on silk
147.5 x 100.8 cm. (58 1⁄8 x 39 5⁄8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with five seals of the artist
Eight collector’s seals, including one of Zhang Ziying (14th Century), two of Liang Qingbiao (1620-1691), two of Jiang Zuyi (1902-1973) and two of Wong Nan-ping (1924-1985)
Titleslip by Gao Xingzi (19th Century), with one seal
Wang Shih-chieh et al., A Garland of Chinese Paintings, Vol. II, Cafa Company Limited, 1967, Hong Kong, no.31.
Yu I ed., Paintings of Bamboo by Ko Chiu-Sze, Yuan Dynasty, and His Collection, China Painting Association, Taipei, January 1976, p.1.
Five Centuries of Chinese Painting From the Collection of N. P. Wong, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, Back Cover. no.1
Richard M. Barnhart et al., The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy from the Wong Nan-ping Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, 1994, p.276, fig.1.
Tian Hong, Wang Nanpings Collection of Ancient Chinese Paintings, Vol. 1, Tianjin People’s Fine Art Publishing, Tianjin, July 2015, p.33, pl.6.
Wong Po-zen, Record of Jade Studios Connoisseurship and Collecting: A Short Biography of Mr Wong Nan-ping, Chung Hua Book Co., Hong Kong, 2019, pp.116-121.
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Five Centuries of Chinese Painting From the Collection of N. P. Wong, 25 February – 28 May 1978.
Post lot text
Serendipity Shall Bring the Paintings to You The Wong Nan-ping Family Collection

This autumn, Christie’s Hong Kong is proud to present selected paintings from the family collection of the last true traditional literati collector—The Master of the Jade Studio, Mr. Wong Nan-ping (1924–1985).

As a progeny of Qing literati originated from Changzhou, Wong Nan-ping reunited with his father Wong Youlin (1900–1988), a successful textile businessman in Shanghai in 1937. He studied Chinese literature at Fudan University and in 1942, he became a close friend and pupil of the famed collector Ye Gongchuo (1881–1968). Despite a 42-year age difference, Ye delighted in providing guidance to his young neighbour. This mentorship laid the foundation for Wong Nan-ping’s enduring passion for collecting and connoisseurship.

Wong Nan-ping acquired his first paintings before he reached the age of 20. With the aid of his father Youlin, he purchased a group of Ming and Qing works from Ye Gongchuo and other important works, including Mi Youren’s Spectacular Views of the Xiao and Xiang, now at the Beijing Palace Museum. In the late 1940s he relocated to Hong Kong and continued to acquire major works, sometimes even made trips to Taipei for masterpieces. Living in the U.S. and Hong Kong in the 1970s, he participated in auctions, received scholars and fellow collectors, and gave talks at private collectors’ clubs and institutions like Min Chiu Society, Kau Chi Society and the Rotary Club. With the assistance of his American friends who were university professors, he sponsored many children of his friends who were then able to attend college in the States. A close friend of Chinese modern masters such as Zhang Daqian, Pu Ru and Xie Zhiliu (who was also a relative), he always granted requests from artists who wished to view and study works in his collection.

Wong Nan-ping’s collection was built over a lifetime of devoted searching and studying, and recognized by all as one of the most distinguished collection of Chinese classical painting and calligraphy. In his manuscript—recently published in Record of Jade Studios Connoisseurship and Collecting—Wong elaborates on his disciplined approach and insights learnt from his mentors Ye Gongchuo and top dealers in Shanghai like Sun Boyuan (1898-1984) of Jibao Zhai and Qian Jingtang (1907-1983) of Liuying Tang. They include: make friends with those in the field; look more and buy fewer; have your own conviction and do not blindly follow trends; be willing to make higher-than-market offers on the best works; and serendipity shall bring the paintings to you.

The Jade Studio Collection has been sought after by museums and scholars for over half of a century. Many works from the collection have been donated and are currently housed at top-notch museums. Notably, Wang Anshi’s (1021–1086) only extant calligraphy and the Sothern Song Longshu version of his complete works, were donated to the Shanghai Museum, a long-held wish fulfilled by his family posthumously. Exhibitions of selected works have been held at Santa Barbara Art Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Art gallery at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Spencer Museum of Art, among others. Seminal publications on the collection, especially The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of the Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy from the Wong Nan-ping Collection—authored by the preeminent scholars of the field including Richard M. Barnhart, James Cahill, Shen Fu and published by Yale University Art Gallery—can be found in any university or museum library, attesting to its significance.

“Without serendipity, even if you have it in hand, it will not stay.” To Wong Nan-ping, collecting’s two components—acquiring and preserving—are two separate aspects. Money alone does not guarantee quality nor longevity of a collection. His artistic taste reflects an inner self possessing the same qualities as the artists he admires and works he treasures. Along his collecting journey Wong Nan-ping cultivates a life of benevolence, generosity, refinement and selflessness. Beloved by families, friends, academic and museum communities, he transcends the boundaries of collectors, connoisseurs, dealers, literati, artists and scholars, and stands in a class of his own.

Brought to you by

Jessie Or (柯少君)
Jessie Or (柯少君) Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of Sale

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