YUN SHOUPING (1633-1690)
YUN SHOUPING (1633-1690)
1 More
YUN SHOUPING (1633-1690)

The Fragrance of a Nation in Clearing Spring

YUN SHOUPING (1633-1690)
The Fragrance of a Nation in Clearing Spring

Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk
134.5 x 68.5 cm. (53 x 27 in.)
Entitled, inscribed and signed, with three seals of the artist
Dated late spring, wuchen year (1688)
Colophon by Wang Hui (1632-1717), signed with two seals
Nine collector’s seals: one of Lu Yuanwu (18th Century), two of Chen Kuiling (1815-1928), two of Zhang Heng (1915-1963), two of Wu Puxin (1897-1987) and two of Wong Nan-ping (1924-1985)
Chen Kuiling, Paintings and Calligraphy in the Baoyu Pavilion, Vol. 2, in Record of Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy, Vol.13, Beijing Library Publishing, August 2007, pp. 496-498.
Zheng Zhenduo, Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Traditional Art, Vol.2, Chapter 11, Shanghai Publishing, Shanghai, 1954, pl.11.
Wong Nan-p’ing ed., Select Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, South China Photo-Process Printing Co. Ltd, Hong Kong, 1975, pp.84-85.
Kei Suzuki ed., Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Paintings: Vol. 2 Southeast Asian and European Collections, University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, 1983, pp. II-98 and II-328, pl. S10-016.
Yun Zhenlin, Yun Shouping and Mogu Painting Skills, in Duo Yun, No.7, 1984, pp.195-196.
Yun Shouping, Ouxiang Guan Collection, Vol. 10, in Integrated Book Series: Ouxiang Guan Collection, Zhonghua Bookstore, Beijing, 1985, p.153.
Yang Chenbin, Selected Works by Yun Shouping, People’s Fine Art Publishing, Beijing, 1993, pl.22.
Lu Shihua, Paintings and Calligraphy Examined in Wuyue, Vol. 6, in Complete Compendium of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, Vol. 8, Shanghai Painting and Calligraphy Publishing, October 1994, pp. 971, 1145.
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, New Haven, 1994, pp.172-173 pl.47.
Xu Bangda ed., Chronology of Chinese Paintings: Revised Edition, People’s Fine Art Publishing, Beijing, March 1995, p.194.
Yang Chenbin, Yun Shouping, Jilin Fine Art Publishing, Changchun, May 1996, pp.140,153.
Zhang Heng, Notes on the Authentication of Painting and Calligraphy from the Muyan Studio,Cultural Relics Publishing, Beijing, September 1999, pp.650-651.
Jia Dejiang ed., Chinese Classical Painting Masters Series: Yun Shouping, Hebei Fine Art Publishing, Shijiazhuang, January 2002, p.1, pl.1.
Chen Bing, Paintings of the Yushan School, Jilin Fine Art Publishing, Changchun, January 2003, p.98.
Dai Boyuan ed., Chronology of Yun Shouping (First Draft Vol.2), in Shulin, Vol.1, Wujin Nanfeng Verse Society, Changzhou, October 2005, p.169.
Mei Qingji, National Beauty and Celestial Fragrance: Peony Composed by Generations of Poets, Dalian Publishing, Dalian, October 2010, p.59.
Selected Chinese Painting Masterpieces: Peony, People’s Fine Art Publishing, Beijing, 2010, p.9.
Xu Bangda (9): Important Notes on Classical Painting and Calligraphy (Yuan, Ming and Qing Paintings), Forbidden City Publishing, Beijing, July 2015, p.594.
Tian Hong, Wang Nanpings Collection of Ancient Chinese Paintings, Vol.2 Tianjin People’s Fine Art Publishing, Tianjin, July 2015, p.460, pl.148.
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.122-123,125.
New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy from the Wong Nan-ping Collection, New Haven, 9 April 1993-31 July 1994.
Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy from the Wong Nan-ping Collection, 10 September-19 November 1994.
Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Gallery, The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy from the Wong Nan-ping Collection, 16 December 1994-25 February 1995.
Lawrence, Kansas, Spencer Museum of Art, The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy from the Wong Nan-ping Collection, 9 April 9-18 June 1995.
Further details
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.

Lot Essay

The Dewy Distillation of Fragrance — The Finest Bloom by Yun Shouping

During the early Qing dynasty, the simultaneous flourishing careers of the “Four Wangs” [Wang Shimin (1592-1680), Wang Jian (1598-1677), Wang Hui (1632-1717), and Wang Yuanqi (1642-1715)], Wu Li (1632-1718), and Yun Shouping (1633-1690) created a scene of multiple leading artists without a clear front runner. Early in his career, Yun Shouping studied and painted landscapes. But in his discussion with his friend Wang Hui, he lamented that he was “shamefully the number two hand of landscape under heaven.” Consequently, Yun Shouping dedicated himself to refine his techniques in painting flowers and birds, a feat that distinguished him from the other five contemporaries. His “boneless” rendition of flowers traces its roots to Xu Chongsi of the Northern Song. According to Yun Shouping, in addition to formal verisimilitude, the key to his success is to whole-heartedly capture the essence of flowers as they exist in nature.
In late spring of 1688, Yun Shouping, at the age of fifty-six, emulated Xu Chongsi’s style and created The Fragrance of a Nation in Clearing Spring. The five flowers blossom in various stages and colours, echoing each other from different branches. Our gaze is drawn to a large lavender bloom in the centre; its petals and stamens are so vivid, as if we can smell the emanating fragrance.
Yun Shouping’s inscription of his own poem combined with Wang Hui’s account of the “boneless” technique, is a testament to not only art history of the flowers painting genre but also to their friendship. Before 1776, the painting belonged to Lu Shihua’s uncle, “Jie’an.” Lu Shihua recorded it in his publication and it was passed down to his son Lu Yuqing. It entered the collection of Chen Kuiling in the late Qing, who included it in his painting catalogue. In the 20th century it was obtained by notable collectors Zhang Congyu, Wu Puxin, and Wong Nan-ping. As a fellow native of Changzhou like Yun Shouping, Wong Nan-ping was especially fond of his works and treasured them for decades. The painting, with its silk in almost pristine condition, bears two seals of Wong Nan-ping, who rarely did so out of humility and respect for the original works. Whose home shall this dewy distillation of fragrance perfume comes next spring?

More from Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy

View All
View All