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ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
PROPERTY FROM AN ASIAN COLLECTOR
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)

Scholar and Attendant

Details
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983)
Scholar and Attendant
Inscribed and signed, with three seals of the artist
Dated summer, gengyin year (1950)
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
118 x 53.5 cm. (46 1/2 x 21 in.)
20th Century

Brought to you by

Yanie Choi
Yanie Choi

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Lot Essay

These paintings come from a private collection of an Asian family. Over the years, the family acquired a number of Zhang Daqian paintings as well as other prominent works by Chinese artists. Bought at Zhang Daqian exhibitions in Southeast Asia in the mid-20th centuryA these paintings have remained in the family collection since.

Dunhuang and Darjeeling are two places that marked Zhang Daqian's zenith in his training as an artist. From 1941-1943, Zhang travelled to the Buddhist Mogao Caves at Dunhuang, the only place bearing the remnants of mural paintings from the Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties. In 1950, he went to India to study the mural paintings at the Buddhist cave temples in Ajanta. During Zhang's time in Dunhuang, there was a debate on whether the genre of Chinese painting originated from India and the artist argued fiercely on the topic. Zhang's decision to go to Daajeeling was in part spurred by the desire to find out the truth of this argument, and partly to gain exposure to early ancient paintings, through observing and imitating them.

During these two periods, Zhang Daqian had the precious opportunity to face thousand-year-old murals and in order to learn from them, the artist practically cut off his contact with the outside world. He adhered to a very strict routine and would observe and sketch during the day, while painting tirelessly at night. With no income, Zhang soon consumed all the money he borrowed before his journey, eventually selling some of his works he painted to friends and relatives. These are possibly the most lonely and tranquil years in Zhang Daqian's artistic career; but also the most rewarding ones.

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