When it comes to modern art sales, it's about big names for any auction houses. For Tokyo Chuo Auction’s Fine Chinese Modern Paintings and Calligraphy in autumn, items with high estimates also go to the paintings by notable artists - Fu Baoshi, Wu Guanzhong and Qi Baishi.
Leading the sale is Fu Baoshi (1904-1965)’s Cliff Above Lake, created in 1963, estimated at JPY 65m - 85m. Fu’s work has been gaining popularity in Mainland China in recent years. His last work, Magnificent View of Maoshan Mountain, fetched RMB 186m with buyer’s premium at Beijing Poly Auction.
In 1956, Mao Zedong visited Yangtze River’s Wuhan section at Southern China three times and was amused by Three Gorges Dam. He then composed a poem “Prelude to Water Melody: Swimming” with a line “To hold back Wushan's clouds and rain/ Till a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorges”, which describes the lake’s view. Inspired by Chairman Mao’s poetry, Fu Baoshi created a series of paintings in the ‘60s, including Cliff Above Lake. The painting was stamped with two seals: one is the artist’s surname “Fu” and the other one is “Will marvel at a world so changed”, extracted from a line in the poem “Prelude to Water Melody: Swimming.”
Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010)’s Chongqing At Night, created in 1996, is estimated at JPY 16m - 20m, the second highest estimate at the sale. The painting depicts the myriad lights of households in Chongqing, where Wu lived in the countryside for five years during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He went to the state Shu (Central Sichuan) to paint its beautiful scenery for a few times. Considering Shu as his second hometown, Wu once said, “Every time I go to Shu, I feel the nostalgia as if I was back in time.”
Qi Baishi (1863-1957)’s Lychee is estimated at JPY 15m - 25m, the third highest estimate at the sale. Qi loved the fruit lychee so much that he commented, “The flavour of lychee tops all other fruits’. It is also the best fruit to be painted.” As a master in painting, Qi took whatever he saw, from fruits to insects, and turned them into an interesting piece of art.
Lots with high estimates
Fu Baoshi (1940-1965). Cliff Above Lake. Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper.
Size: 89.5 x 56.5cm
Created in 1963
Two seals of Fu Baoshi
Estimate: JPY 65,000,000 - 85,000,000
Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010). Chongqing At Night. Mounted, ink and colour on paper.
Size: 57 x 59.5cm
Created in 1996
Seal of Wu Guanzhong
Estimate: JPY 16,000,000 - 20,000,000
Qi Baishi (1863-1957). Lychee. Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper.
Size: 179.5 × 47cm
Two seals: one of Qi Baishi and one of Dayu house
Estimate: JPY 15,000,000 - 25,000,000
Auction house: Tokyo Chuo
Sale: Fine Chinese Modern Paintings and Calligraphy
Auction date: 2017/9/3｜1pm