" I sought for beauty with the innocent passion because that was my nature; I rushed headlong into the great mansions of art and never looked back. I paint directly from natural scenes because I revere nature and believe in the strength and inspiration within it. Only direct contact with nature can bring the self together with the unlimited and show us nature's purest and most moving aspect. "
- Yang Sanlang
Between 1920 and 1930, the art world in Japan, which was closely associated with that of Taiwan, returned towards Eastern aesthetic values after much influence from Western art. Ryuzaburo Umehara (1888-1986), trained in Western painting but developed a style which incorporated his subjective and Eastern aesthetics, was one such artist. Influenced by Umehara, Japanese artists who later went to Taiwan introduced modern artistic theories and the Western concept of still life painting, where literati painting of southern China had been dominant. When the Taiwan Art Exhibition was held in 1927, the authorities hoped to present a unique genre of painting that encapsulated the delicate sceneries of Taiwan and its unique natural environment and climate. Inheriting this tradition, Yang Sanlang came to understand nature with acute perception, and shifted his focus from the Impressionist's interpretation of shadow and light to the Post-Impressionist's demonstration of emotions.
Ocean views are, without doubt, very meaningful for Yang Sanlang among his outdoor scenery and nature works. In his ocean view paintings, the endless coastlines, the ever changing colours of the skies and ocean and passionate rushing of the waves onto the shore clearly reveal the obsession and passionate love Yang had for art. Although inspired in his late years by Monet, a Western Impressionist master, Yang's interpretation of ocean views developed into his own unique style. It is the artist's habit to go to Northeast Coast and drew from Nature at midnight, and finished his work at dawn; he once remarked that Bitou Cape bathed in the rays of the rising sun was his absolute favourite, " It is possible to draw the waves after looking at the ocean and listening to the waves, but whenever I face the ocean, it triggers the feelings and praises toward nature I hold deep in my heart. Every single stroke is a demonstration of nature. " In Sunrise in Northeast Coast, Taiwan (Lot 1019), Yang Sanlang applied only a trace of blue brushstrokes in painting shadows and depth of the sea, in order to manifest the golden radiance revealed at the instant moment of sunrise. The waves in bright cream and pinkish orange hues churn and dance among the varying brushstrokes; under reflection of the sun, the dark-coloured rocks are transformed into bright tones of clear yellow, reddish orange and dark browns. The colour contrast is most intensive in the foreground, while the chroma gradually weakens as the view extends from the middle to the rear. The richness of yellow and orange in the sky implies the location source of light- the sun shines and reflects through the clouds, to create tonal unification in the painting, thus making Sunrise in Northeast Coast, Taiwan a unique ocean view picture of the artist. Yang insists on directly facing the seascape as he sketches. With his artistic training and repeated observation of nature, he has grasped concretely the uniqueness and essence of his subject, which enable him to capture Nature's instantaneous moment of change. With his paint brush, the atmosphere, temperature and the taste of the ocean waves at that particular time and space are directly and truthfully presented.