Bonhams New York Unveils Highlights for 20th Century Chinese Painting and Calligraphy

The competition of upcoming fall sales is now heating up as another auction house, Bonhams New York, has also unveiled its highlights. Gearing up for the 20th Century Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, Bonhams New York presents some masterpieces, led by Jia Youfu’s Sunshine after the Rain, which is expected to fetch US$120,000-180,000.

Jia Youfu was born in Hebei in 1942 and graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts, as well as a protégé of well-known painters like Li Keran and Li Kuchan. Jia incorporates philosophy in his artworks and proposes an idea called “Inspiration of Stones” emphasizing the connection between mountains, stones and anything in the universe. 

Taihang Mountains

Jia takes Taijang mountains as his source of inspiration. He first took a realistic approach in his landscape paintings but later focused more on the spiritual level of an artwork by infusing his feelings and ideas into his works. It can be seen in his work Sunshine after the Rain.

The second highest-estimated lot is Which is Earth? D, estimated at US$100,000-150,000, created by Liu Guosong (also known as the Father of Modern Chinese Ink Painting). During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the United States launched the Apollo programme to carry human to the Moon. Inspired by this programme, Liu created a series of works with a theme of Space to evoke viewer’s imagination of the universe.


Which is Earth? D is one of the early works in the series, painted in 1969, inspired by Apollo 8 mission in 1968. Apollo 8 was the first crewed spacecraft to leave Earth orbit and orbit the Moon, paving the way for the moon landing programme afterwards. Earthrise, an influential photograph capturing the Earth and parts of the Moon's surface, was taken during the Apollo 8 mission.

Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010)’s Gulangyu and Pan Tianshou (1897-1971)’s Vulture are both estimated at US$80,000-100,000, the third highest estimate at the sale.


Highest-estimated lots

Jia Youfu’s Sunshine after the Rain. Ink and Colour on Paper, Horizontal Hanging Scroll. 

Lot no.: 8044
Size: 67.2 x 133.5cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Property from the Michael Gallis Collection
  • Acquired August 2006

Estimate: US$120,000 - 180,000

Liu Guosong’s Which is Earth? D, 1969. Ink and colour with Collage on Paper. Mounted, Framed and Glazed.

Lot no.: 8034
Size: 76.8 x 155.6cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Lee Nordness Gallery, New York.
  • Laguna Beach Art Association. Laguna Beach, CA. 
  • Property of a New York Collection

Estimate: US$100,000 - 150,000

Wu Guanzhong’s Gulangyu. 1980’s. Ink and Colour on Paper. Hanging Scroll.

Lot no.: 8045
Size: 68 x 70cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):
Property from the Collection of Mark S.Pratt.
Estimate: US$80,000 - 100,000

Pan Tianshou’s Vulture. Ink and Colour on Paper. Mounted for Framing. 
Lot no.: 8021
Size: 93.7 x 42.6cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Quincy Adams Shaw Jr. (1896-1987)
  • Thence by Descent to the Present Owner

Estimate: US$80,000 - 100,000


Auction details

Auction house: Bonhams New York
Sale: Twentieth Century Chinese Painting and Calligraphy
24255 Sale no.: 24255
No. of lots: 48
Previewing: 2017/9/7 - 10|10am - 5pm
Auction: 2017/9/11|1pm