(Chinese, B. 1947)
Misty Day
signed in Chinese; signed 'Aixuan' in Pinyin; dated '2000.9' (lower right)
oil on canvas
94.6 x 85.4 cm. (37 1/4 x 33 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2000
Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

Lot Essay

Realism as an artistic movement began in Europe in the 19th century. While in the 20th century the trend of the style fell into a decline, it nourished art in China which had been withered by political turmoil for years, leading the Chinese realist painting into its golden age, the 1980s. Ai Xuan is one of the most significant realist painters in the contemporary art world. Ai Xuan grew up in a family of artists as his father was the celebrated poet Ai Qing, but he had a tough life even since he was a child. His parents were divorced when he was young, leaving him in a wandering childhood after which he went through the miserable Cultural Revolution. Ai Xuan's paintings are thus animated by the hardship he suffered. Later, the desolate Tibet became a sanctuary for his soul and since then he tried to convey mystery, sentimentality, loneliness and sorrow through his paintings.

Misty Day (Lot 170) was created by Ai Xuan in 2000. In the painting, the direct gaze of the Tibetan girl is heartfelt and touching, she seems to be searching for answers or questing for consolation. Ai Xuan internalized his visual experience into personal state of consciousness, which is fully expressed through the sentimental glimpse from the girl's eyes. Ai Xuan depicted the changes of light and shadow with his typical approach, the light projected from the right side onto the girl creates a deep contrast and brings forth a mysterious touch. With hands folded on laps and her body leaning to the side, the girl's seated posture against the windowsill forms a stable triangle composition. The painting conveys not only a sense of solitude but also unspeakable serenity and composure.

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