Bonhams : Chen Yifei (1946-2005) Two Reclining Beauties
Chen Yifei (1946-2005) Two Reclining Beauties

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Lot 1700
Chen Yifei (1946-2005)
Two Reclining Beauties

HK$ 14,000,000 - 16,000,000
US$ 1,800,000 - 2,000,000
Chen Yifei (1946-2005)
Two Reclining Beauties
Oil on canvas, framed
Painted in 1996
On the reverse, with a label of Marlborough Gallery (New York), Stock No. NoL 46.110, and the Chen Yifei Estate Stamp, CYE/SMY/No.2
209cm x 299cm (82¼in x 117¾in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Chen Yifei Estate, CYE/SMY/No.2
    Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd.
    Private collection, Singapore

    Exhibited:
    Chen Yifei Memorial Exhibition: A Tribute to Chen Yifei (1946-2005), Marlborough Gallery, New York, 9 January to 3 February 2007

    Chen Yifei - Requiem, MAD Museum of Art & Design, Singapore, 9 April -
    9 May 2010

    Published:
    Studio of Chen Yifei (1946-2005), Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. and Marlborough Gallery Inc., London and New York, 2006, p.58-59

    Chen Yifei Memorial Exhibition: A Tribute to Chen Yifei (1946-2005), Marlborough Gallery, New York, 2007, p.11, plate 2

    Chen Yifei - Requiem, MAD Museum of Art & Design, Singapore, 2010, unpaginated

    陳逸飛 兩位斜躺的美人 油彩畫布 木框 一九九六年作

    背面附有紐約瑪勃洛畫廊標籤,編號 NOL 46.110,及鈐有「陳逸飛的遺產」專用印章,遺產編號 CYE/SMY/編號2

    來源:
    陳逸飛的遺產CYE/SMY/編號2
    倫敦瑪勃洛畫廊
    新加坡私人收藏

    展覽:
    「向陳逸飛致敬(1946-2005)紀念展」,紐約瑪勃洛畫廊,2007年1月9日至2月3日

    「天堂挽歌:陳逸飛遺作展」,新加坡復興藝術館,2010年4月9日至5月9日

    出版:
    《陳逸飛遺產油畫遺作,1946-2005》,倫敦和紐約瑪勃洛畫廊,2006年,頁58-59

    《向陳逸飛致敬(1946-2005)紀念展》,紐約瑪勃洛畫廊,2007年,頁11,圖版2

    《天堂挽歌:陳逸飛遺作展》,新加坡復興藝術館,2010年,無頁碼

    'Shanghai, Shanghai, I come from Shanghai;
    Shanghai, Shanghai, I'm fulfilling my dreams of Shanghai.
    Dreams of your loving touch, dreams of your intoxication.
    Shanghai, Shanghai, how repeatedly I linger in your dreams.'
    ── Shanghai, Shanghai, song from the movie Old Dreams of Shanghai

    In Chen Yifei's first movie production, 1993's Old Dreams of Shanghai, the above song performed by the lead singer Mao Amin and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is a rather accurate footnote for Chen's own surge of feelings for Shanghai.

    Chen Yifei was born in 1946 to a culturally refined family in Zhenhai County, Zhejiang Province. His father was a chemical engineer, and his mother, once a nun, often took her children to church for service. From liturgies, as well as the stained glass, sculptures and pipe organ in the church, Chen Yifei received his earliest aesthetic influences. His whole family relocated to Shanghai in the year he was born, where his lifelong attachment to the city began. According to an analysis by the renowned writer Yu Qiuyu about how Shanghai contributed to Chen's cultivation as an artist, 'Shanghai endows Chen Yifei with an academic augustness, and yet there is also allowance in this very quality for keenness and vividness.' (See Yu Qiuyu, 'Impressions of Chen Yifei', in The Homecoming of Chen Yifei: Retrospective Exhibition, Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd., Hong Kong, 1996, p.20.)

    It was in the Affiliated Middle School of the Shanghai College of Art that Chen Yifei laid a foundation in painting under his formative instructor Meng Guang. In the college itself he studied under Yu Yunjie, who graduated from 'Maksimov's Oil Painting Training Class'. The mentorship not only established his grounding in oil painting, but also nourished him with the techniques of Russian realist oils. (For more on Chen Yifei's life and creative philosophy, see timeline in the appendix.)

    Chen Yifei left in 1980 for America, where he eventually attained his Master's degree at New York's Hunter College four years later. He then travelled frequently between New York and Shanghai. Whether depicting female Western musicians, Chinese ladies dressed in traditional robes, the water towns of Jiangnan or the sights of Tibet, Chen's realist paintings were infused with a sense of beauty rooted in Chinese tradition. His style came to be described by the New York Times as 'Romantic Realism'.

    After returning to China in the 1990s, Chen Yifei focused on exploring the theme of Chinese ladies in traditional attire, specifically those of old Shanghai's streets, alleys and boudoirs. These figures came to populate his Old Dreams of Shanghai series of oil paintings. Two Reclining Beauties, painted in 1996, is one of his representative works. It was purchased by the original collector from the artist's estate via Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd. Due to Chen Yifei's sudden and early death in 2005, many of the paintings left in his studio were unsigned, and hence the back of the canvas had been stamped with the official Chen Yifei Estate Stamp and a pertinent serial number. In line with the time-honoured tradition of authentication similarly employed for the French Impressionists Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and Claude Monet (1840-1926) after their deaths, such features ensure the reliability of the works from Chen's studio. The serial number from Chen Yifei's estate for this particular work is CYE/SMY/2, indicating that this truly rare find was initially provided by the studio via the artist's widow Madam Song Meiying, purchased by a collector in Singapore, and now presented at auction for the first time.

    Brightened by mainly yellow and other warm colours, the painting represents the rich seductiveness and extravagance of old Shanghai through chromatic blurring, superimposition and blending. Of the two young women of the early Republican period here, both dressed in gorgeous cheongsam and holding a round fan, one is glancing obliquely at the viewer, seemingly on the verge of rising; the other is lying listlessly, staring upwards with a dazed look. Chen Yifei's women are not frail, but imbued with solidity and sculpturality. Their gazes and silence exude a certain anticipation and melancholy, with the partial image of a bird cage at the lower left suggesting an additional aspect to their languishment.

    Through his mastery of realist techniques and a capacity for paring complexities down to the essentials, Chen Yifei had frozen the narrative, composition and palette of his picture in a particular instant as if it were a frame in a movie – one charged with the romance and nostalgia associated with Shanghai. This magnificent, wall-sized piece offers not only an abundance of dramatic tension, but also boundless room for reverie.

    「上海,上海,我自上海來;上海,上海,我圓上海夢。
    夢中有你的溫存,夢中有你的迷醉。
    上海,上海,夢中流連千百回。」
    ── 電影《海上舊夢》插曲《上海、上海》

    1993年,陳逸飛完成了電影處女作《海上舊夢》,而主唱者毛阿敏和上海交響樂團所表現的這段樂曲,似乎為陳逸飛對上海的情思洶湧下了精確的註腳。

    陳逸飛1946年出生於浙江省鎮海縣的書香世家,父親是化學工程師, 母親曾做過修女,常帶子女去教堂做禮拜。宗教儀式、教堂內的彩繪玻璃、雕塑、管風琴等給予他最初的美學熏陶。同年全家遷往上海,開始了他一生的上海情結。著名作家余秋雨曾撰文分析上海如何為陳逸飛打下良好的藝術基礎,「上海使陳逸飛具有一種學院派的端莊,又在端莊裡兼容著靈敏和鮮活。」(參見余秋雨〈陳逸飛印象〉,載於《陳逸飛回顧展》,瑪勃洛藝術(倫敦)有限公司,香港,1996年,頁20。)

    在上海美術專科學校附中,陳逸飛的啓蒙老師孟光給了他繪畫的基礎;而在大學部,師承結業於「馬克西莫夫油畫訓練班」的俞云階,不僅奠定了他油畫的功底,更讓他在俄羅斯寫實主義油畫技法中找到了養分。(有關陳逸飛的生平和創作理念,可參閱附錄年表。)

    陳逸飛1980年旅美,四年後獲紐約亨特學院藝術碩士學位,並常穿梭於紐約和上海兩地。無論是描繪西洋樂女、古典仕女、江南水鄉或西藏風情,他總是在西方寫實主義中賦予作品中國傳統的美感,其風格被《紐約時報》評為「浪漫寫實主義」。

    1990年代歸國後,陳逸飛傾心於仕女題材的探索,以舊上海街巷、閨樓中的女子為對象,創作了「海上舊夢」系列油畫。此幅繪於1996年的 〈兩位斜躺的美人〉,正是其代表作之一。原收藏家是透過倫敦瑪勃洛藝術公司,直接從畫家遺產購入此作。由於陳逸飛在二〇〇五年驟世時,留在他畫室的許多作品並無簽名,因此畫布背面加印上「陳逸飛的遺產」專用印章和編號。這延續了藝術界,如法國印象派畫家埃德加•德加 (Edgar Degas 1834-1917) 和克勞德•莫奈 (Claude Monet,1840-1926) 辭世後,也採用的悠久真實性認證傳統,以確保其畫室作品的可靠性。此作遺產編號為 CYE/SMY/2,代表最初經藝術家遺孀宋美英女士,由畫室提供,被新加坡收藏家購得後,首次在拍場中亮相,實屬難得。

    藝術家以桔黃色為主的暖色調,通過顏料的暈染、重疊、混合,營造出昔日舊上海的萬種風情和十里洋場的奢靡繁華。畫面中這對身穿艷麗旗袍、手持團扇的民初少婦,一位斜視著觀眾,似乎正意欲起身;另一位慵懶躺下,迷離仰望。陳逸飛筆下的女性並非纖弱,而有其渾厚感和雕塑感。她們的凝視、她們的靜默流露出期盼與悵然;而左下方一只莫約可見的鳥籠,似乎又意味著一種別樣情愁。

    陳逸飛透過精湛的寫實技巧和刪繁就簡的能力,將畫面的敘事、構圖和設色,宛如電影情節般定格在一瞬間,同時展現上海的浪漫與懷舊。此大如牆面的巨作不僅極具戲劇張力,更賦予我們無盡的懷想空間。
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Chen Yifei (1946-2005) Two Reclining Beauties
Chen Yifei (1946-2005) Two Reclining Beauties
Chen Yifei (1946-2005) Two Reclining Beauties
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