JIANG ZHAOHE (1904-1986)
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JIANG ZHAOHE (1904-1986)

Happy New Year

JIANG ZHAOHE (1904-1986)
Happy New Year
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
104.5 x 53.8 cm. (41 1/8 x 21 1/8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
Dated New Year's day, twentie-ninth year (of the Republic, 1940)
Directly acquired from the artist by Mr Matthew Keating (1917-1994) in 1940s.
Liyan Huakan, Issue no. 72, 7 February 1940, p.13.
Jiang Zhaohe, Portrait Paintings of Chiang Chao-Ho: Vol. 1, 1940s (undated), pl. 1.
Portraits by Jiang Zhaohe (Exhibition Catalogue), Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, November 1988 (unpaginated).
The Complete Works of Jiang Zhaohe, Volume I, Tianjin People’s Fine Arts Publishing House, March 1993, pl. 60.
Chen Weihe and Keith Pratt, “Chinese Figure Painter Jiang Zhaohe” Arts of Asia, July-August 1993, pp. 77-89, illustrated p.81, pl.7.
Jiang Zhaohe, New Edition of Mustard Seed Garden Painting Manual, Figure-Ink Portrait, People’s Fine Arts Publishing House, February 2002, p. 152.
Works by Chinese Famous Painter-Jiang Zhaohe, Hebei Education Press, March 2002, p.44.
Xin Ping, The Story of Refugees, China Federation of Literary and Art Press, May 2004, p.56.
Collection of Paintings by Jiang Zhaohe, Volume I, Beijing Arts and Crafts Publishing House, December 2005, p. 81.
Planting a Tree of Life: Jiang Zhaohes Art Research, Culture and Art Publishing House, November 2010, p. 69.
Boundless Loyalty: Catalogue of the 110th Anniversary Exhibition of Jiang Zhaohe, Anhui Meishu Chubanshe, 2014, p.75, pl. 32.
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Portraits by Jiang Jaohe, 21 November – 30 December 1988.
Durham University Oriental Museum, Portraits by Jiang Jaohe, 1993
National Museum of China, Boundless Loyalty: 110th Anniversary Exhibition of Jiang Zhaohe, 2-30 November 2014, (facsimile exhibited).
Post lot text
Recovering Treasures: From Private Overseas Collections Jiang Zhaohes Happy New Year and Old Man (LOTS 1088-1089)
Celebrated for his veristic figure paintings reflecting profound humanitarianism, Jiang Zhaohe extended exceptional compassion to the neglected during wartime in the 1930s and 40s. Acquainted with few kindred spirits who enjoyed his fusion of Chinese and Western artistic styles, Jiang prefaced “there are few who know or love me; only the poor knows me and only the famished do I sympathise” in the first volume of Portrait Paintings of Chiang Chao-Ho in 1941. In truth, Jiang was well liked by the foreign nationals in China; and as many of his works left the country with his patrons, Jiang’s oeuvre was temporarily believed to be forever lost.
Fortunately, in recent decades, as Jiang’s artistic legacy gains momentum among art historians, more and more purportedly-lost works have emerged in public exhibitions and academic publications especially overseas. Prompting great enthusiasm among the academic and collection circles, Christie’s is honoured to present two treasured works from Jiang Zhaohe’s first publication from the 1940s.
Happy New Year comes from the family collection of Mr Matthew Keating (1917-1994). A senior personnel at the Royal Dutch Shell, Keating was stationed in China for over a decade, during which he met Jiang and acquired a few works. Keating left China after the 50s and as a parting gift and a token of an intercontinental friendship, Jiang presented him with a personal portrait. Happy New Year has since been displayed at many Jiang Zhaohe exhibitions overseas, while a reproduction was exhibited at the National Museum Exhibition in 2014. This occasion at Christie’s marks the painting’s first appearance in Asia after its departure from China 70 years ago.
The finest of Jiang’s portraits, Happy New Year is the first painting featured in Portrait Paintings of Chiang Chao-Ho. Portraying a young girl in Beijing during the Republic of China period, the painting shows her in a festive red cheongsam and in a New Year’s greeting pose. In the inscription, consistent with his humanitarian principles, Jiang recounts many war-induced sufferings, but also expresses his hope for a better future. Composed and gentle, the young girl, too, imparts optimism and promise. Different from his figure paintings with downcast subjects, Happy New Year stands to be the most representative of Jiang’s humane disposition in the turbulent era.
Presented from the collection of former American military officer George F. Dales (1927-1992), Old Man epitomises Jiang’s proclivity for painting the elderly. Stationed in China with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1945 to 1948, Dales acquired Old Man and also had his portrait rendered by Jiang. Dales later earned his Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960 and was an archaeology professor at University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley. Depicting an Old Man whose looks, from matted beard to hollow cheeks, spoke volumes, Jiang shows respect for his crossed-arms, hunched-over subject. As with Old Couple from Christie’s 2018 Spring Auctions, Jiang employs the Western treatment of light and shadow, thereby yielding meticulous detail and profound depth in his ink paintings.
Comparable to finding shining pearls in the expansive sea, Christie’s offering of Happy New Year and Old Man surely furthers interest in Jiang Zhaohe’s early artistic creations, to the benefit of scholars and collectors.

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