Lot 268: ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983) AND STUDIO SPRING DAWN OVER MOUNT EMEI 61cm high, 120cm long (sight)
November 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983) AND STUDIO
SPRING DAWN OVER MOUNT EMEI
scroll, ink and colour on paper, inscribed and signed, with two seals of the artist reading 'Daqian Jushi' and 'Zhang Ai', dated twelfth month, sixty-eighth year (of the Republic, 1979)
61cm high, 120cm long (sight)
The Collection of Zhao Tailai (b.1954), acquired from the artist by Zhao's aunt; accompanied by a letter by Zhao confirming the authenticity of the piece.
Also known as Chiu Tai-loy, Zhao is the great grandson of Wu Tingfang (1842-1922), a Qing Dynasty diplomat who later served as foreign minister in the Republic Period. In 1981 Zhao inherited from his aunt (one of Wu Tingfang's grandchildren) a large collection of Chinese works of art, including the present lot. Zhao is most well-known for donating more than 50,000 pieces of Chinese antiquities to museums and public institutions in Mainland China. The Guangzhou Museum of Art has a dedicated hall to house his donations.
Zhao practised as a painter himself. In 1971, the then 72-year-old Zhang Daqian visited Zhao at home and signed a painting of the young art student with "Master of the Future".
The present painting is executed in Zhang Daqian's famous splashed-ink technique, which he developed in the 1950s. The technique consists in pouring intense mineral colours and broad washes of ink on to the paper and allowing them to obtain spontaneous and seemingly random forms on the highly absorbent medium. The amorphous spread of colours is then refined by contour lines and further linear details.
Although Zhang Daqian himself attributed this style to the splashed-ink technique of the ancient painter Wang Mo, many believe it to be related to his exposure to modern Western art, especially to Abstract Expressionism.
Zhang Daqian was eighty when he painted the present work. It is known that with failing health, he sought help from his students who would prepare parts of the works for him. It is likely that he entrusted the line drawings in this work to his students whilst carrying out the colour-splashing himself. This painting shows the famous Golden Peak of Mount Emei in a powerful burst of ultramarine and black whilst the neighbouring and more distant peaks are still covered in a veil of mist, as if not having fully awakened to the dawn of spring.
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