Sotheby’s Hong Kong recently announced its highlights for autumn auction, including two Chinese paintings – one is late Yuan scholar Zhang Yu’s Letter to Boqing estimated at HK$16m-20m (US$2.1m – 2.6m) and the other one is modern painter Xu Beihong’s Soaring Eagle estimated at HK$5m-7m (US$640,000 — 900,000)
Zhang Yu (1277-1348) became a Taoist priest at the age of 20s and lived in Maoshan Mountain. Highly revered as a reputable scholar in late Yuan dynasty, Zhang was a versatile artist who showed mastery in preaching, poetry, calligraphy and painting. Letter to Boqing is a letter that Zhang Yu wrote to his friend Han Youzhi (also known as Boqing), an official in Pingjiang.
A piece of Zhang Yu’s late calligraphy named “A Poem on Painting” (image above) is now housed at the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Speaking of Xu Beihong (1895-1953), he is most well-known for painting horses but his paintings of animals and flowers are just as good. The “poet saint” Du Fu once wrote a “Poem to Li Bai” to show his appreciation towards Li, an idiosyncratic and prominent poet. Inspired by this poem, Xu took a line from the poem and visualized a soaring eagle on this painting.
Highlights at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Chinese Paintings
Zhang Yu. Letter to Boqing. Ink on Paper, Framed.
Sale: Classical Chinese Paintings
Sale date: 2017/10/1
Estimate: HK$16,000,000 -20,000,000 (US$2,100,000 – 2,600,000)
Xu Beihong. Soaring Eagle. 1939. Ink and Colour on Paper, Hanging Scroll.
Sale: Fine Chinese Paintings
Sale date: 2017/10/2
Estimate: HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000 (US$640,000 — 900,000)