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XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
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LOTS 3175-3176 FROM A SINGAPOREAN COLLECTOR During the Second Sino-Japanese War, many literati, including Xu Beihong, were forced to flee his country and take refuge overseas. The period between 1939 and 1942 saw Xu travel around South-east Asia most frequently, and was also one of the most prolific periods of his career. Xu held fundraising art exhibitions in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang in aid of the war effort. In 1941, the artist went to Singapore in February to hold an anti-Japanese society exhibition at the invitation of anti-Japanese societies in Penang. His works created at this time were in a manner of contributing to the war effort and repaying his country. During Xu Beihong's sojourns to Singapore, he often stayed at the house of Zhang Nuqi and Zhuang Youzhao. Zhang was also a noted painter at the time, whom Xu met when they were both studying abroad in Paris, and became good friends. Zhang's brother-in-law Zhuang Youzhao was then studying in Germany, and was both an entrepreneur and amateur artist. Together Zhang and Zhuang created the Pengte Artist Society, on No. 181, Tank Road. Xu often spent his times at the Artist Society, mingling and painting with other artists, as well as gifting each other with their works. Admiring the Stallion was created in this happy atmosphere, and gifted to Zhuang as a sign of their friendship. Xu's inspiration for White Plum Blossoms was during his trips to Ipoh, Malaysia with friends-inspired by the purity and tranquil beauty of the blossoms, he created this present piece as a gift to Zhuang.
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)

White Plum Blossoms

Details
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
White Plum Blossoms
Inscribed and signed, with two seals of the artist
Dated spring, xinsi year (1941)
Dedicated to Yaozhao
paper ink
109 x 63.5 cm. (43 x 25 in.)
20th Century

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Yanie Choi
Yanie Choi

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Lot Essay

Plum Blossoms is a recurring theme in Xu Beihong's oeuvre. He applied western oil painting brush strokes and techniques for the branches with a naturalistic method and lush green colouring for the blossoms, in the process, revealing the true beauty of nature. Although the methods used in this painting are mainly western, however, they retain the traditional Chinese poetic atmosphere. It is known that Xu's plum blossoms are rich with inner meaning - they reflect his love and loyalty for his country. Therefore, it is in the spirit of patriotism that White Plum Blossoms was conceived.

Created in 1941 and gifted to his friends in Singapore, this painting is perhaps a sentimental parting gift to his good friend - this was Xu's last visit to Singapore as he left his friends in January 1942, on the eve of the fall of Singapore by Japanese invasion. This painting as a symbol of friendship ends on a sad note, for Zhang Nuqi and Zhuang Youzhao, great patriots of their country, were unfortunately killed in their efforts against the Japanese during the invasion.

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