(CH'IU YA-TS'AI, Chinese, B. 1949)
Portrait of a Gentleman
signed in Chinese (lower right)
oil on canvas
130 x 162 cm. (51 1/8 x 63 3/4 in.)
Christie's Hong Kong, 31 October 2004, Lot 696
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Felix Yip
Felix Yip

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Lot Essay

Qiu Yacai, born in 1949 in Yilan, Taiwan, grew up under formal education system; as his studies did not go smoothly, he has become melancholy since childhood, and became alienate from the community and mainstream society. This seeming accumulation of negative emotions in fact contributed to his delicate sensibility and acute observation. With elegant style and technique, Qiu illustrates neatly, either in his writings or paintings, the gloomy mood and underlying grace of the frustrated human figures around him.
By setting a single piece of large colour plate as background, evenly spreading the colour with freehand, and introducing contrastive colours as well as a few decorative elements, Qiu Yacai casually presented the character in the front view, and constructed an absolute space with the whereabouts unknown. He outlined the body shape of the character with simple lines, which is very similar to the plain sketching techniques commonly used in traditional Chinese painting. The way he dealt with the characters' facial features manifested a delicate blend of his proficiency in the format and techniques of Modern Western Arts, with the spirit in traditional Eastern literati painting; out of the point where East meets West, Qiu developed his unique style of vocabulary, to explore the anxiety and desolation in human psychological level.
Slender neck, head and figure have always been signature for characters in Qiu Yacai's works, and it is obviously so in the pieces featured in this sale (Lot 1558, Lot 1559 and Lot 1543). Such deliberate deformation of the human figures denotes elegance and aloofness. Qiu bestowed his characters with crystal-clear eyes and determined closed lips, whether the character is restrained with his arms folded, or dashing with his hands casually placing on this waist. As such the artist depicted how the lonesome souls in face of a confrontation between ideal and reality, choose to reply with silence instead of aggressive debate, thus vividly revealed in the painting aloof integrity and solemn elegance of the characters.

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