ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)

Flowers of the Four Seasons

ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
Flowers of the Four Seasons
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
68.5 x 135 cm. (27 x 53 1⁄8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with four seals of the artist and one seal of bingchen year (1976)
Dated third month, bingchen year (1976)
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Fine Chinese Paintings, 6 October 2019, Lot 2864.

Brought to you by

Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)
Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯) Vice President, Head of Department, Chinese Paintings

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Lot Essay

Known as a master flower and bird painter, Zhang Daqian was nicknamed “Zhang Shuixian” (Narcissus Zhang) in his early career. Later on, he came to fame worldwide for his rendition of the ever-changing lotus. The present lot, in which Zhang depicted seven types of flowers seen in four seasons across one composition, is rarely seen in his oeuvre. Although Zhang said that his flowers in the painting “are not painted chronologically,” one can unmistakably see the temporality of his visual presentation: apricot blossoms in spring, peonies in early summer, bright red lotus in mid-summer, bamboo and chrysanthemum in autumn, plum blossoms in deep winter, and then his renowned narcissus to denote the end of all seasons and the welcoming of spring. The work shows Zhang Daqian’s creativity and passion for painting flowers, as they co-exist and compete in beauty in a single composition.
Flowers of Four Seasons was painted in 1976 when Zhang Daqian resided in California. With a garden of flowers blooming and his grandchildren playing joyfully in his expansive garden Huanbi An, Zhang was elated by what he saw and dedicated the painting to this beautiful moment. In the inscription, Zhang mentioned his beloved granddaughter Mianmian, the fourth daughter of his son Baoluo, who assisted him in painting. Beyond his artistic talent, this loving dedication allows us to appreciate Zhang Daqian’s love for his family through some of his favourite subject matters.

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