A Special Gift of 11 Chinese Paintings by Xu Beihong and His Top Pupils 70 Years ago Lead Bonhams Hong Kong Sale
    • Offered Fresh to the Market**

Bonhams Fine Chinese Painting Sale on 7 July (Tuesday) in Hong Kong presents a rare group of eleven fresh-to-the-market works by the modern master of Chinese paintings Xu Beihong (1895-1953) and his top pupils.

In 1946, the four young artists – Zhang Qianying, Fei Chengwu, Zhang Anzhi, and Chen Xiaonan – were selected by their teacher Xu Beihong to leave the war-torn China to study abroad. New to a foreign land for the first time in their lives, they found a warm welcome in a London still struggling with rationing and the aftermath of the Blitz.

The students were funded and looked after by The Universities' China Committee in London (UCCL), an educational charitable trust established in 1925, which has since played a vital role facilitating research visits between countries, as well as promoting Chinese studies and language teaching in Britain.

In gratitude for the hospitality received, this group of paintings – now offered for the first time in Bonham's July sale in Hong Kong – was assembled by the artists and presented to the UCCL. The eleven works consist of paintings not only by the students themselves, but also those by their teacher Xu Beihong and his contemporaries Qi Baishi and Chen Shuren, all of which were together exhibited in London in 1950.

For years after, these paintings were hung on loan at the Buddhist Society in London, where the UCCL was given a single-room office, and from 1968 were on display in the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds. All framed and carefully maintained, they show minimal physical deterioration and remained largely unknown in the UK and the world ever since.

Iris Miao, Bonhams' Consulting Head of Chinese Paintings, commented: "As we delved into the story behind this storied Collection, we discovered a series of intriguing relationships among the key people who strove tirelessly to keep it intact. We are therefore delighted to offer them in its entirety this time. The Collection represents a sealed capsule; a fascinating window into a heart-warming episode of modern Chinese Painting history."

By popular demand, Bonhams will once again present 'Chinese Paintings – The Online Sale' from 23 June to 7 July, highlighting a series of exquisite works by Ding Yanyong from the Collection of the artist's own student, Hong Kong artist John Li.

Preview and bidding will be done in accordance with the latest government guidelines. This includes the option of an appointment-only preview and a 'behind-closed-doors' auction, where an auctioneer will be present on the rostrum, and bids will be accepted in the following formats: online, on the phone, or by leaving an absentee bid.

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