Christie's presents magnificent splashed ink and colour masterpieces by Zhang Daqian

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Christie's presents magnificent splashed ink and colour masterpieces by Zhang Daqian
Tailor-made cloisonné scroll knob specially designed by Da Feng Tang, Zhang Daqian’s studio​. © Christie's Images Ltd 2022.

HONG KONG.- Christie’s Fine Chinese Modern and Contemporary Ink Paintings and Calligraphy sale will be held on 29 May, featuring a series of rare splashed-ink and colour masterpieces by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) from the 1960s and the 1970s.

Christie's will present several magnificent masterpieces of Zhang Daqian, many of which are making their auction debut. The most notable work, Temple with Waterfall, is a masterpiece from the artist's “Brazil period”, splashed in vibrant mineral pigment. The painting was kept by the artist himself for many years. Like Temple at the Mountain Peak (which was offered by Christie's Hong Kong in Spring 2021) and other vital works from the 1960s, Temple with Waterfall was specially selected by Zhang to be sent to Japan for luxurious mounting. In 1978, Zhang Daqian was invited by the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo to hold a solo exhibition at the Sejong Centre in Seoul. Temple with Waterfall was one of the exhibits and the first work in the exhibition catalogue, which testifies to the importance of the painting. Other pieces from the same collection, Live in Seclusion, Longevity, and Lotus, were also featured in the same exhibition.

Additional highlights of the sale are three exceptional masterpieces from a distinguished private American collection. Having encountered Zhang Daqian through artist Wang Jiyuan (1893-1975), the original collectors became important early supporters of Zhang Daqian in the 1960s. They hosted him at their residence and in 1972, travelled to San Francisco for his retrospective. Blossoms on Verdant Hills, Snowy Mountains in Spring, and Temple at Mountain Peak perfectly exemplify Zhang Daqian’s bold shift towards abstraction and experimentation with media.

These timeless pieces embody Zhang Daqian’s most cosmopolitan and modern creative spirits, his world travels, and his ingenuity to fuse traditional Chinese painting techniques with Western abstract expressionism into a brand new artistic language, further securing him as a pivotal figure in the global art scene.

Kim Yu, International Specialist Head of Chinese Paintings, remarked: “We are honoured to present such a rich and colourful collection of Zhang Daqian’s splashed-colour and splashed-ink pieces, which showcase his journey from traditional to modern, from China to the rest of the world, and again reflects his world-class artistic achievement. This May, we look forward to gathering with collectors and global art lovers to witness Zhang Daqian’s achievements reach even greater heights in the auction market.”

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