LOTS 1447 - 1448
PROPERTY FROM MR. RAJA HUTHEESING
These paintings by Qi Baishi were acquired directly from the artist by Raja Hutheesing (1906-1991), who was a member of one of India's most illustrious families. He fought for India's independence along with his wife Krishna Nehru Hutheesing (1907-1967), the youngest sister of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. At turns a businessman, official, diplomat, and journalist, Mr. Hutheesing travelled to China in 1951 and 1952.
After his second journey, he published his observations in 1953 in The Great Peace: An Asian's Candid Report on Red China, which was well received in India as an honest and informed description of China and its political leaders.
In this text, Mr. Hutheesing described his meeting with Qi Baishi and the circumstances that led to the painting of these pictures.
"I wanted to ask Chi to paint a picture for me because I hoped to see him working. It was difficult to ask, however, because the need for double translations made informal conversation laborious. As soon as Chi Pei-she heard that I wanted him to paint, he became energetic, lively and anxious to work. The change was sudden and complete."
He rolled up his sleeves and said, 'Yes, I will paint for you but it will cost your forty-four thousand yuan per square foot.' This was around two dollars and I readily agreed.
'What shall it be? Flowers, birds, lobsters?'
'Paint what you like, what the moment drives you to,' I answered.
I told him that I was anxious to write about him so that the people in my country would know something of his art.
- Raja Hutheesing, The Great Peace: An Asian's Candid Report on Red China, pp. 58-61.