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XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)

Galloping Horse

XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
Galloping Horse
Inscribed and signed, with two seals of the artist
Dated winter, jiaxu year (1934)
Further inscribed and signed by the artist
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
76 x 112.8 cm. (30 x 44 1/2 in.)
20th Century

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Yanie Choi
Yanie Choi

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Lot Essay

A later inscription sees Xu Beihong dedicate this painting to the Fourth Field Army Group Commander. After the founding of the Republic of China, Guangxi served as the base for one of the most powerful warlord cliques of China: the Old Guangxi Clique. In 1924, Li Zongren, Bai Chongxi, overthrew warlord Lu Rongting, and in 1925, Li and the New Guangxi Clique took over Guangxi and established themselves as the only legitimate ruling government in Guangzhou under the Republic. Li, leading an army of twenty thousand under the Seventh Corps, acted as the main commander for their Nothern expedition. In April 1928, the Nationalist Government promoted Li to Chief Commander of the Fourth Field Army Group with Bai Chongxi as Second-in-Command.
In March 1929, Li's attempt to overthrow Chiang Kai-shek's new army failed and the Fourth Field Army Group was disbanded. Li, along with Bai and Huang Shaohong fled to Vietnam and Hong Kong. They returned to Guangxi in October of the same year attempting to re-build the Guangxi Clique. According to The Army Memoirs of Guangxi, the Fourth Field Army Group was reinstated in June 1931, with Li as Commander and Bai as Second-in-Command and Ye Qi as Chief Strategist. The Fourth Field Army Group was renamed as the Fifth Route Army in February 1937.
In October 1935, Xu Beihong wrote to his friend in France, Su Xixun, then Chief Secretary of the Provincial Government of Guangxi, essaying a desire to travel around Guangxi. Xu arrived in Wuzhou at the end of October, before heading to Nanning. Xu entertained people with his artistic prowess, and was often seen laden with many of his paintings - on one occasion he painted a horse at the Supreme Army Headquarters. Under the invitation of Huang Xuzhi, Chairman of Guangxi province, Xu often met with both political figures during social gatherings; in particular, Xu and Li Zongren attended "The General and the Artist" gathering at the First High School of Guangxi province. It is believed that Xu gifted this present painting to the General then.

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