Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints

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Lot 8017
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973),
A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints

Sold for US$ 156,250 inc. premium
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973),
A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Ten woodblock prints, oil-based ink on paper, and color on paper, seven prints by Gu Yuan, including several of his most well-known images that were created 1943-44 during his stay in Yan'an, The people's Liu Zhidan, Birthday of the Labor Hero, Ma Xiwu Mediates in a Lawsuit, Eighth Route Army Training, Eighth Route Army's Autumn Harvest, Vegetable Field, Resisting the Drought; and two prints by Yan Han Helping them Hide and Carrying a Stretcher; and a print by Wo Zha Recovering the Grain, Cattle and Sheep; together with a letter from Gu Yuan to the recipient of the prints, dated April 26, 1982.
13 x 7 7/8in (33 x 20cm), the largest

Footnotes

  • 古元 套色版畫七幅
    彥涵 套色版畫两幅
    沃渣 版畫一幅


    Provenance
    Gifted from Mao Zedong to Howard Hyman on September 16, 1945
    Thereafter by descent


    In 1938 Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai established the Lu Xun Academy of Literature and Art in Yan'an, to teach artists regional and folk traditions and to endow them with the skills to advance the message of Socialism through their art. Gu Yuan was one of the earliest students and a member of the founding generation of artist who employed the woodcut medium--partly inspired by European expressionism--to achieve these goals. The 1942 Yan'an Forum of Literature and Art, of which Gu Yuan was a participant, transformed these ideals into political doctrine, and Gu Yuan's bold, dramatic images captured the struggles of the people and the promise of revolutionary change.

    In August 1945 World War II was quickly coming to a close, and American Air Force Private First Class Howard Hyman was stationed in Chongqing, not far from where Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai were residing at Hongyan Cun (Red Crag Village). Having heard positive reports from their American colleagues who visited Yanan, Hyman bought several cartons of American cigarettes and left them at Hongyan Cun as a goodwill gift for Mao. Much to their surprise, Mao reciprocated with a invitation to dinner, and on September 16, 1945, Hyman and two other enlisted men would join Mao, Zhou Enlai, Qiao Guanhua and Gong Peng for an intimate dinner at Hongyan Cun. It was there that Mao presented these woodcuts to Hyman, and a photograph of their encounter still hangs at Hongyan Cun today.

    The woodcuts came to the United States shortly after, and for years were on display Howard Hyman's New York home. Hyman and his fellow soldiers would return to China, first in the summer of 1976, with a delegation of American WWII veterans. Going back to Hongyan Cun, now a historical site and museum, they were stunned to see their photograph on the wall. The story of the fateful dinner was later recounted in the July 1987 issue of China Reconstructs.

    It is rare for collections of Yan'an era woodblock prints to come to auction. However a handful of institutions outside of China hold collections. The Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, the British Museum, the Muban Foundation and The National Gallery of Australia each have fairly comprehensive holdings.
Contacts
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
Gu Yuan (1919-1996), Yan Han (1916-2011), Wo Zha (1905-1973), A Group of Ten Woodblock Prints
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