In the hundred-year history of Chinese oil painting, the pioneers had taken on the significant mission of seeding and watering its development, while they expand their artistic creation and educate their successors. Although restrictions have been found in the development of contemporary Chinese art, Min Xi-wen still insisted to pursue in art. Min was born in 1918 and was taught by Wu Dayu, Fang Ganmin and Cai Weilian at the Hangzhou National Academy of Fine Art while studying with Zhao Wuji, Zhu Dequn and Wu Guanzhong. Together, they experienced the difficult and arduous time of retreating to Chongqing during the Sino-Japanese War, and under severe circumstances, they still insisted upon painting. Min's painting career can be divided into three stages: his study period in the early days, the period after 1949 when China encountered the Socialist realism from the Soviet Union, and the Chinese economic reform period in the 1980s when lively works were created.
Although Min Xi-wen received strict training in realistic painting, it did not restrict him from exploring other creation paths. He committed himself to exploring the essence in expressing through colours in modern western art. Min starts with presenting the entirety of objects, abandoning the minute details and the truthful colours of objects in depiction, striving to express the simple relation between shape and color. Still Life (Lot 1152) shows how the artist has surpassed the object's external representation and proceeds to focus on the internal feeling. Bright yellow is used to paint the fruits and curtains by using heavy and thick brushstrokes that are sculptural. Not only the painting looks full and bright, it also reflects a sense of cultural reminiscence. Min places the flowerpot and the fruits on a light-reflective tabletop and in front of the mirror, not to expand the picture plane but to create rich layers of colours. The shapes and images of real objects, reflections in the mirror and images on light-reflective table become a well structured composition. The image of the two fruits split into six of the same colours but different tonalities areas of blocks; the reflection shows different angles of the leafs also enrich the picture plane. The sense of spatial depth is represented through these different cubes of colours, with the help of light variations. Min appropriately made use of contrast colors of cool and warm hues, contributing to form a kind of supplement, contrast, response and set-off, exhibiting dynamism, just like the rhythmic Fugue by Bach, guiding the viewer.
Abstraction No.2 (Lot 1151), an extremely rare work by Min, is the witness of how the artist devoted himself to search the possibility in art development and brought his personal innovation in color, light and shadow into a new area under the limited condition in China. Min kept using strong and heavy paints while his strokes move freely, reminds us the strokes of representing immediate variation of light in Impressionism, or the Pointillism from Post-Impressionism. The composition of the pictures is divided in a half by a light yellow horizontal line and the bottom part of the picture seems like the reflection of the lake. Blue, purple and green horizontal strokes form a blossoming chain of mountain and yellow, orange and brown color dot are just like an extension of the flower field. Min successfully applied the essence and feeling inspired from the landscapes to the painting, creating a picture with richness, brilliance and fully exuberant vitality.