Fresh to Auction Works lead Fine Chinese Paintings Sale

Hong Kong – Bonhams Fine Chinese Paintings Sale on Thursday 3 April in Hong Kong offers more than 140 pieces of ancient, modern and contemporary works from the leading 20th Century Chinese masters, including Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian, Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian and Wu Guanzhong.

The sale is led by ten pieces from an important Asian private collection, including A Mountain Village of Guilin by Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010). Estimated at HK$3,500,000- HK$4,500,000, it is one of three known works on the same subject, one of which is in the collection of the National Art Museum of China.

The owner of the collection, Master of Jiange, was born in early Republican China. He migrated to South Asia at a young age and built a business empire, becoming a respected leader of the Chinese expatriate community known for his generosity and charity. An enthusiastic art lover and avid collector, he specialised in collecting Chinese paintings, calligraphy and antiquities. In the 1970s, he returned to his roots in Beijing and became acquainted with numerous artists, many of whom gave him examples of their work.

The collection includes works by Xu Beihong (1895-1953). Galloping Horse (HK$1,500,000 - 2,000,000), is a rare piece formerly owned by the important Singaporean collector Huang Manshi. It is appearing at auction for the first time alongside Rooster on Rock (HK$500,000 - 700,000); Two Cats on Rock (HK$1,500,000 - 2,000,000); and Standing Horse (HK$600,000 - 800,000).

Among the other highlights:

- Bo Le Inspecting the Horses by Lin Fengmian (1900-1991). Painted during the 1950s and 1960s, this is the rarest work in the auction. Estimated at HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000, it has been unseen in public since it was sold overseas in 1995 and is a fine realization of Lin's ambition to blend West and East in his work.

- Landscape after Dong Yuan by Zhang Daqian (1899-1980) (HK$2,800,000-3,800,000) was painted in 1951 when the master was living in Darjeeling, India. It was executed in the styles of Dong Yuan and Juran. In an interview, Zhang reflected that "The period in Darjeeling was my most energetic time. I created a lot of paintings and calligraphy. My eyesight was at its best too so I used the gongbi (fine brushstrokes) a lot". Zhang was renowned for studying Chinese paintings from all periods, and in the process developing his own rich style.

- Two pieces by Qi Baishi (1864-1957), from the collection of the former Soviet architect A. S. Mochin who worked on urban development in China in the 1950s. Morning Glories (HK$400,000 - 600,000) was dedicated to him, while Fish and Crabs (HK$400,000 - 600,000) was dedicated to the architect and urban planner Ren Zhenying who in turn gifted it to Mr. Mochin.

- Immortal Peaches, also by Qi Baishi (HK$ 3,800,000 - 5,000,000). Painted in the daxieyi (freehand) style, it comes from a North American private collection.

- 28 works from the private collection of the renowned Singaporean musician Wang Yishan (1939-2017). The artist Liu Haisu (1896-1994) created and dedicated several paintings to Wang in the 1960s, including Pine Tree (HK$200,000 - 250,000). Wang Yishan also collected key artists including Shi Xiangtuo (1906-1990), Hongyi (1880-1942), Pu Ru (1896-1963), and Feng Zikai (1898-1975) who are all represented in this sale.

- Landscapes After Ancient Masters, an album of leaves, by Yun Shouping (1633-1690) from the Qing period. A highlight of the Ancient Chinese paintings section of the sale, it was owned successively by celebrated late Qing collectors. It is estimated at HK$1,600,000 - 2,200,000.

- Finally, the Portrait of a Ming Dynasty Mandarin that comes from the collection of a former French diplomat to imperial China Henri Hoppenot (1891-1977). He was the secretary to the Ambassador in Beijing and a lover of the arts and literature who dedicated himself to a lifelong pursuit in culture. His collection ranged from Picasso, Modigliani, and Alexander Calder to Asian Art, including this portrait.


Related auctions