Oil paint­ing by mas­ter bought for 112.7 m yuan

China Daily - - TOP NEWS - By LIN QI [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese artist Wu Guanzhong’s oil paint­ing of a serene Jiang­nan land­scape fetched 112.7 mil­lion yuan ($16 mil­lion) at Poly In­ter­na­tional Auc­tion’s sale on Thurs­day night in Bei­jing. The 1994 paint­ing, ti­tled Twin

Swal­lows, was sold at the se­cond high­est price paid for an oil work by Wu, who died in 2010 in Bei­jing. The modern mas­ter’s out­put, es­pe­cially land­scapes, en­joy wide pop­u­lar­ity for their color sys­tem and for con­vey­ing a sense of Chi­nese po­etry.

Wu first cre­ated a col­ored ink paint­ing, also ti­tled Twin Swal­lows, in 1988. Based on that, he cre­ated the oil ver­sion with some vari­a­tions in de­tails. The ink ver­sion was auc­tioned in the same sale, sell­ing for 54 mil­lion yuan.

The most ex­pen­sive piece of Wu’s oil on can­vas, and of his oeu­vre, is Zhouzhuang a 3-me­ter-long land­scape of the water town in Jiangsu prov­ince. It grossed HK$236 mil­lion ($30 mil­lion) in a Hong Kong auc­tion in April 2016.

Through­out his ca­reer, Wu re­vis­ited the mo­tif of Jiang­nan — the lower reaches of the south­ern bank of the Yangtze River. A na­tive of Jiangsu prov­ince in the heart of Jiang­nan, Wu cap­tured the re­gion’s tran­quil beauty, giv­ing full play to his home­sick­ness af­ter decades of liv­ing in Bei­jing. His clas­sic paint­ings of charm­ing Jiang­nan eas­ily arouse view­ers’ po­etic sen­ti­ments.

Twin Swal­lows gath­ers these el­e­ments to form an iconic im­age of Jiang­nan in gen­eral: the white walls and gray roof tiles of folk ar­chi­tec­ture; age-old trees laden with leaves; a clear, re­flec­tive river; and a cou­ple of swal­lows fly­ing in a damp, clean sky.

Wu com­bined the Chi­nese and Western styles in Twin Swal­lows to present a sim­ple el­e­gance. He adopted the clas­sic Chi­nese paint­ing tech­niques of baimiao, finely con­trolled out­lin­ing, and

li­ubai, leav­ing blank ar­eas. The paint­ing shows Wu’s ef­fort to por­tray Jiang­nan in oil over two decades. In the 1950s, when he was a teacher at the Cen­tral Academy of Fine Arts in Bei­jing, he heard lec­tures by vis­i­tors from the for­mer Soviet Union who said Jiang­nan was gloomy all year, so its was not bright enough for a good oil paint­ing.

Af­ter­ward, Wu trav­eled fre­quently in Jiang­nan in the firm be­lief that he would find a way to show its beauty in oil on can­vas.

“I love the gloomy spring days,” Wu said. “Black, white and gray are the main tones of Jiang­nan. It thus be­came the base on which my works are grounded, and also the start of my ca­reer.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.