Qi Baishi’s Peony to Lead Bonhams Fine Chinese Painting and Southeast Asian Art Sale

The Bonhams Fine Chinese Painting and Southeast Asian Art sale will take place on 27 November at Bonhams Hong Kong Gallery. The sale brings together 160 Chinese paintings and calligraphy works, as well as fresh-to-market examples of Southeast Asian artworks.

The top lot of the sale is Qi Baishi's Peony with an estimate of HK$3.5m - 5m (US$450,000 - 640,000). It is one of the artist's very last works and highly sought-after among collectors. A remarkable painting, the scroll features a red flower in full blossom, with branches and leaves portrayed in dense, dry brushstrokes.

The rarity of the work is also marked by its 4-feet length since works in the later part of Qi Baishi's life are often small due to his deteriorating health. Collected by a Romanian journalist during his time in Beijing from 1952 to 1962, this is the first time that the work will be offered for sale.

The second top lot falls to Calligraphy in Running Script by Kang Youwei. Kang Youwei was a Chinese scholar, noted calligrapher and prominent political thinker of the late Qing dynasty. This set of work carries an estimate of HK$1.8m – 2.6m (US$ 230,000 - 330,000).

Highlights also include Wu Guanzhong's A Corner in the Garden, estimated at HK$1.2m - 1.8m (US$150,000 - 230,000).

In September 1987, British-American Tobacco Company Hong Kong Limited sponsored the exhibition, Wu Guanzhong, A Retrospective at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, his first solo exhibition outside Chinese Mainland that proved pivotal in his worldwide acclaim. Wu reciprocated by painting A Corner in the Garden which was hung in its Hong Kong office until given as a retirement gift to the current owner in 2005.

Top three lots (by estimates)

Qi Baishi (1864- 1957). Peony.

Ink and Colour on paper , hanging scroll
Inscribed and signed Baishi, with two seals of the artist

Lot no.: 219
Size: 133.5 x 65.5cm
From an Important Private Romanian Collection. The previous owner was a journalist, who often visited Beijing from 1952 to 1962. The painting was purchased during one of his trips, and thence by descent
Estimate: HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 (US$450,000 - 640,000)

Kang Youwei (1858-1927). Calligraphy in Running Script.

Ink on paper, set of eight hanging scrolls.
Inscribed and signed Kang Youwei, with one seal of the artist
Dated guihai year (1923)

Lot no.: 154
Size: 167 x 42.5cm
Estimate: HK$1,800,000 - 2,600,000 (US$230,000 - 330,000)

Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010). A Corner in the Garden.

Ink and colour on paper, framed
Inscribed and signed Wu Guanzhong, with a dedication and two seals of the artist

Lot no.: 232
Size:96 x 90cm
Estimate: HK$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 (US$150,000 - 230,000)


Auction details
Auction house: Bonhams Hong Kong
Sale: Fine Chinese Paintings and Southeast Asian art
No. of lots: 160
Viewing: 2017/11/22 - 26|10am - 7pm
Auction: 2017/11/27|10am