28 May 2010
QI BAISHI (1863-1957)
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
128 x 34 cm. (50 3/8 x 13 3/8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, bearing two seals of the artist
Dated wuyin year (1938)
Shrimping is a fine display of Qi's knowledge of the anatomy of shrimp and his shrewd observation of nature. Simply composed, three lively shrimp sit at the base of the painting, suspended upon a fishing rod that delicately balances the poetry running vertically on the right side of the painting. If we compare this painting to the one at the Cleveland Museum of Art, one can see similarities in the depiction of the shrimp's bodies and execution of their legs. Qi's artistry shines with his depiction of the fishing rod, as two simple lines simultaneously show the strength and flexibility of a fishing rod, while the other shows the fragility of the line.
Charlotte Horstmann (1909-2003) was a prolific collector who remained passionate about Asian art throughout her time in Beijing into her later life in the 1950's. In her pursuit of good art she became life-long friends with Qi Baishi, but only after her dogged determination to meet him overcame the political instability of the time and Qi's reluctance to meet guests. Shrimping was created in 1938 when Beijing was in political turmoil - Qi went through a period of refusing to meet guests and only occasionally posted notes on his door to receive commissions.
Lot 313, 19 March 1990, Fine 19th and 20th Chinese Paintings, Christie's Hong Kong, previously in the collection of Charlotte Horstmann.
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Please note that the format of this painting should be scroll, mounted and framed instead of hanging scroll as stated in the Chinese description.
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