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Lot 149: - Wang Dongling , b. 1945 Confrontation of Yin and Yang ink on paper

Est: $25,000 USD - $35,000 USDSold:
Sotheby'sSeptember 17, 2008New York, NY, US

Item Overview


signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated 2005.4 ink on paper


85 by 57 in. 216 by 145 cm.

Artist or Maker


Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, China Onward, Denmark, 2007, pp. 275-276, illustrated in color


Wang Dongling has played a uniquely important role in the history of Chinese calligraphy, as an artist who has maintained his integrity as a calligrapher in the traditional sense, while also forging a space for calligraphy in the realm of contemporary avant-garde art. The twentieth century modernist tide challenged calligraphers to affirm the relevance of their chosen art; Wang pushed the purview of calligraphy beyond previously long-held boundaries, into the realm of pure abstraction, separating the expressive capacity of the calligraphic line from its textual meaning. Two events from Wang Dongling's life propelled his innovative tendencies. First, as a young man during the Cultural Revolution he was assigned to write "big character" political posters, experiencing unprecedented freedom from the traditional constraints on calligraphy. Second, he later had the opportunity to spend several years as a visiting professor in the U.S.A., where he became familiar with the forms and ideas behind Western art. He then returned to his alma mater, the China National Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, where he now serves as both Director of the Modern Calligraphy Study Center--the only center of its kind--and chair of the highly progressive Calligraphy Department. In the 2005 works Confrontation of Yin and Yang (Lot 149) and A Song of Life (Lot 150), we see the expression of Wang Dongling's mature career. While the latter work is infused with a sense of exuberant growth, in the former, exemplifying the yin-yang concept, the artist has balanced the value of black and white in a composition where opposing forms draw the eye toward the center. -Britta Erickson

Auction Details

Contemporary Art Asia

September 17, 2008, 12:00 PM EST

1334 York Avenue, New York, NY, 10021, US