A Pair Perched Amidst Red Leaves Ink and colour on paper, mounted Inscribed and signed Zhang Daqian Yuan, with three seals of the artist Dated wuzi year (1948) 128cm x 67cm (50in x 26¼in).
Provenance: Important private collection, Hong Kong
張大千 紅葉雙栖 設色紙本 鏡心 一九四八年作
A Pair Perched Amidst Red Leaves is of bird-and-flower subject matter rendered in precise gongbi style, depicting the aforementioned pair of birds at leisure upon a high branch of red leaves. Though composed of lavishly sleek ink directed with a masterfully controlled and concentrated technique, at no point does the painting seem workmanly or rote. Tucked away at the bottom right corner, the scholars' rocks are rendered in one blow both shou and tou, or suitably 'thin' and 'hole-pocked', providing the work ashen and turbid, even otherworldly juxtaposition. A multi-branched frond of bamboo arches horizontally across these rocks, the indigo hues seeming to tremble in the wind, providing further contrast in both colour and position with the high branches of red leaves. Completed in the second lunar month of the wuzi year (equivalent to 1948), when Zhang Daqian would have been 50 years old, the present work is a gongbi bird-and-flower masterpiece of the artist in his prime. Though initially acquired in Shanghai, since 1950 the work has been in an important Hong Kong family collection.
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