Boats (Lot 572) is also the formerly property of the Portuguese Consul in Hong Kong. The Portuguese Consul and his family became friends with the most prominent artists of that period, including Zao Wuji (1920-2013), Zhao Shao'ang (1905-1998) and Lui Shou-Kwan. The Boats was acquired directly from the artist with whom the Consul and his family had close ties, as evidenced by the documents kept in the Consul’s family archives.
After the solo exhibition in March 1957, sponsored by the British Council, Lui emerged as the leading artist of the Avant-garde. Later in the same year he was invited to join the society of Hong Kong Artists, which marked the first wave of modern art movement in Hong Kong. Yet, in spite of his westernized approach in art, Lui, never for any moment, totally divorced himself from the classical Chinese tradition. To prevent himself from going too far away on the journey into western concepts and techniques, every now and then he would look up nature with its sea and the coastal landscape as a means of reflection. The Boats, produced in lines and washes, is one of the four main types of landscape that he painted between 1957 and 1960 – hills, islands, houses and boats. It is undoubtedly in Chinese tradition. The lines are bold and definite and his textural strokes are simplified. Flat black ink wash shows the dark sky and water and the touch of red ink symbolizes the falling sun. Form is getting minimized and the colour is more expressive. It is the influence of Impressionism on one hand, but Lui’s bold use of black ink also shows his father’s influence. The Boats is a predecessor of Lui’s first study of complete abstractionism appeared around 1959 where lines were ultimately transformed into decisive calligraphic strokes which ceased to describe anything but existed as pure form.