Christie’s Chinese Paintings Led by Ma Xinle’s Horse from Rockefeller Collection

Christie’s kicked off New York Asia Week with Fine Chinese Paintings sale, presenting classical and modern paintings from collections in the West. The sale realised a total of more than US$3.3m, led by Ma Xinle’s Horse from the Rockefeller collection.  

The top lot of the sale was Horse by Chinese painter Ma Xinle (born 1963). Ma Xinle studied in America and held a number of exhibitions during his stay there. He is best known for his horse paintings. He created the first version of this large and dramatic composition of horses racing through a blizzard of snow and the painting now hangs in the main conference room at the International Conference Center at Yanqi Hu Lake in Beijing.

Ma Xinle is a close friend of David Rockefeller

In 2012, Steven C. Rockefeller, Jr. commissioned Ma Xinle to complete a second version, which is the one offered at the sale. Mr. Rockefeller and his wife Kimberly have been enthusiastic collectors of Ma Xinle’s paintings for a decade. Estimated at US$250,000 - 350,000, the painting was sold for US$312,500 and became the top lot of the sale.

Zhang Daqian

The second highest price was realised by Zhang Daqian’s Landscape. Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) created this work in 1980 during his late years as a present to the esteemed collector J.M. Hu (1911-1995) in honour of his seventieth birthday.

J.M. Hu (on the right) was a prominent collector

The painting has been kept in the collection of J.M. Hu and his family. Estimated at US$100,000 - 150,000, Landscape was sold for US$250,000 after premium.

The third top lot was Misty Landscape by Huang Binhong (1864-1955), carrying an estimate of US$20,000 - 40,000.  Created by Huang at the age of 83, the painting was sold for US$237,500 after premium, ten times its estimate.

Top three lots

Ma Xinle. Horses.
Scroll. Mounted for framing, ink and colour on paper

Lot no.: 121
Created in: 2012
Size: 141.6 x 363.2cm
Entitled, inscribed, and signed, with two seals of the artist
Dated early summer, renchen year (2012)
One collector’s seal of Steven C. Rockefeller, Jr. (born 1936)
Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist.
Estimate: US$250,000 - 350,000
Price realised: US$312,500

Zhang Daqian. Landscape.
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper.

Lot no.: 79
Created in: 1980
Size: 92.7 x 42.5cm
Inscribed and signed, with five seals of the artist
Dated the second month, gengshen year (1980)
Dedicated to J.M. Hu (1910-1993)
J.M. Hu (1911-1995) Collection, and thence by descent.
Estimate: US$100,000 - 150,000
Price realised: US$250,000

Huang Binhong. Misty Landscape.
Handscroll, ink and color on paper.

Lot no.: 84
Created in: 1946
Size: 9.5 x 151.8cm
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
Dated bingxu year (1946)
Frontispiece inscribed and signed by the artist, with two seals
Colophons by Luo Fukan (1872-1955) and Huang Jusu (1872-1955),with a total of three seals
Estimate: US$20,000 - 40,000
Price realised: US$237,500

Auction summary
Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Fine Chinese Paintings
Sale date: 2018/9/11
Price realised: US$3,302,250

(All prices realized have included buyer’s premium unless otherwise specified)