28 May 2010
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
Eagle Flying above Pine Trees
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
91 x 67.6 cm. (35¾ x 26 5/8 in.)
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
Xu Beihong was an artist particularly skilled in realism and is a seminal figure in the history of modern Chinese painting. As one of the first artists to articulate the need for artistic expression that reflected a new modern China at the beginning of the 20th century, he was one of the earliest artists to be trained in Europe and was instrumental in promoting the use of scientific realism and the direct study of nature to rejuvenate ink painting. Xu Beihong had always been fascinated by the portrayal of animals. As early as 1908, Xu began his observation of animals through cigarette boxes and observing circus animals in Shanghai. Through the depiction of animals Xu reflected his dissatisfaction with the social situation at the time, the instability wars brought and the helplessness of man under repression. With great attention to detail, Xu encapsulates the characteristics of animals and brings to life the eagle, horse, cat and boar on paper.
Lot 821, 30 November 1984, Fine Classical and Modern Chinese Paintings, Christie's New York.
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Modern Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Collection of the Kau Chi Society of Chinese Art, the Kau Chi Society of Chinese Art and the Art Gallery, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1987, p. 136, pl. 62.
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