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10 Sisters

10 Sisters
signed, titled, inscribed and dated '10 Sisters Walasseting 14 July 1994 Amsterdam' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
202 x 485.5 cm (79 ½ x 191 1/8 in.)
Painted in 1994
Private collection, USA

Brought to you by

Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Senior Vice President, Deputy Head of Department

Lot Essay

"Ting thought of himself as a volcano, a powerful waterfall, or a gale-force wind: he was constantly worked up, growing, restless, moving, emotional and would often use scores of colors at one time."
Liu Yung-Jen, curator at Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Walasse Ting (Ding Xiongquan) created his unique painterly world with the extensive use of blazing colours. Just as the meaning of his Chinese name ‘Xiongquan’, which means ‘energetic’ and ‘flowing in abundance’, he had a continuous flow of inspiration with his most loved elements – women, flowers, animals and food. Demonstrating Walasse Ting’s celebrated kitten, female figures and radiant flora in his signature use of vibrant colours, this painting represents the pinnacle of the artist’s career, alluring viewers with the irresistible composition.

Though often identified as a Chinese-American artist, Ting’s cultural background is much more complex as reflected in his artworks, including 10 Sisters . Born in China and trained briefly at the Shanghai Art Academy, Walasse Ting left the country and moved abroad to France in 1952. During his time in Paris, Ting encountered the works of Matisse and Favuism where he started incorporating bold colours in his oeuvres. Later in his journey, Ting befriended members of the artist group CoBrA and was exposed to their painting style that is highly expressionistic. Later in 1958, Walasse Ting received an artist residency in New York, where his style was further emboldened and liberated under the influence of Abstract Expressionism and American Pop Art.

Female figure is emblematic of Ting’s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Neo-Figurative style and one of Ting’s recurrent subject matter since the late 1970s. Being exposed to various artistic styles and artists in Europe and the United States has helped Walasse Ting to achieve his radical interpretation of female figures as shown in 10 Sisters . The painting demonstrates his experimentation with figurative paintings through melding various schools of painting and art movements around the world. Seated among the lush green grassland, the blooming petals echo with the beauty of the ten sisters who are blossoming in a dazzling array of colours. While the cats is a symbolism of the coquettish temperament of the sisters, it is indeed a daily inspiration to the artist and a subject matter the appears often in his works. Dressing the sisters in striking neon shades and embellishing them with radiant flowers, Ting parallels the charisma of female with the beauty of nature and charms the onlookers with his very own female images.

In 10 Sisters , Walasse Ting uses expressive dripping brushstrokes with neon acrylic pigments to outline ten ladies seated side-by-side in an enticing manner. Instead of natural complexion, defined contours and precise brushstrokes, the artist uses bright emotive colours, natural shapes and organic lines to illustrate the figures, reminding viewers of the ambiguous, primitive silhouettes in Dance by Henri Matisse. Ting does not aim at mirroring the reality with his works but focused on conveying emotions through pictorial conceits. The colourful and vital imageries by Walasse Ting reflects his adventurous and free-spirited life in his effervescent, turbulent splashed of paint.

“In Paris and New York, he associated himself with the protagonists of the canonical narrative of contemporary art without, however, entering this narrative.” - “The Other Is Not Where It Is”: The Unclassifiable Walasse Ting’, Francesca Dal Lago

Having lived in multiple cities throughout his life, Walasse Ting never stopped exploring new inspirations from his surroundings and infusing them with his Chinese root. Ting creates his personal artistic style with his subject matter, delivering colourful and energetic paintings. With an open attitude towards avant garde movements and innovative approaches such as CoBrA, the artist matures and liberates his style, embracing more spontaneous, vivid brushworks. By taking great pleasures and appreciating all kinds of beauty in life, Walasse Ting reflects his life in 10 Sisters by enlivening the ten confident muses in provocative colours– captivating viewers with this exceptional painting that is one of the largest works by the artist’s to be offered at auction.

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