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Rare pieces from prominent collections headline Bonhams Hong Kong sale
Qi Baishi, Peony estimated at HK$3,500,000-5,000,000. Photo: Bonhams.


HONG KONG.- Bonhams Hong Kong’s upcoming sale for Fine Chinese Paintings and Southeast Asian Art brings together 160 Chinese paintings and calligraphy works as well as Southeast Asian art, many of which sourced from prestigious collections and released for the very first time into the market. The auction will take place on 27 November at Bonhams Hong Kong Gallery.

CHINESE PAINTINGS
The strong line-up of Chinese paintings and calligraphy is dominated by a selection of rare pieces including a magnificent Qi Baishi Peony from an important private Romanian collection, Qi Baishi paintings from The Feng Wen Tang Collection and a selection of fine paintings and calligraphy from the celebrated Chinese master Pu Ru.

Lot 219 Qi Baishi Peony from a private Romanian collection is estimated at HK$3,500,000 - 5,000,000. This masterpiece is one of the artist’s very last works, making it highly sought-after amongst collectors, featuring a dominant flower in bold red in full blossom, with branches and leaves portrayed with dense, dry brushstrokes. Works in the later part of the artist’s life are small due to his deteriorating health; however this piece is exceptional in that it is a full 4-feet-in-length without a single misplaced stroke, which makes it extremely rare, if not the only one. This impressive piece was collected by a Romanian journalist during one of his business trips to Beijing from 1952 to 1962 and thence by descent after his passing.

Another highlight includes an important private collection of 19 classical and modern Chinese paintings. Carefully assembled primarily during the late 1960s and early 1970s from artists and dealers across Hong Kong and London, this collection is a testimony to the friendship between artists and patrons and the respect for traditional Chinese art that the Chinese diaspora still holds. The collection accompanied its late owner to different corners of the world, finally settling in Singapore, where it has remained for almost half a century. Being an extremely private man, the collector never showed any of these works publicly. In offering the collection, the family hopes one can appreciate the love and care that was devoted to the assemblage of the works. Of special mention is Lot 129 Blue and Green Landscape attributed to Qiu Ying with an estimate of HK$300,000 - 500,000.

Amongst ‘Selected Fine Paintings and Calligraphy Works by Pu Ru’, an esteemed example is Lot 169 Goddess of Compassion with an estimate of HK$400,000 - 600,000. As a devout Buddhist and pious son, Pu Ru transcribed Buddhist sutras and drew Guanyin portraits to bless the afterlife of his mother on every anniversary of her death. Another item by Pu Ru is Lot 172, Album of Amitabha Sutra, in regular script estimated at HK$800,000 - 1,200,000. It was created by Pu for the renowned lay Buddhist Li Bingnan in spring of 1952 to commemorate the founding of Lotus Temple in Taichung. The album is an excellent example of Pu Ru’s superb mastery of regular script.

Another brilliant 20th century work of art is Lot 232 A Corner in the Garden by Wu Guanzhong estimated at HK$1,200,000 - 1,800,000. In September 1987, British-American Tobacco Company Hong Kong Limited sponsored Wu Guanzhong, A Retrospective at Hong Kong Arts Centre, which was his first solo exhibition outside Chinese Mainland and 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.

Lot 182 Pink Lotus by Zhang Daqian, executed in ink and colour on gold cardboard, equally captures our imagination. It comes from an important private Asian collection with an estimate of HK$1,000,000 - 1,500,000.

Other notable paintings include: Lot 231 Egrets on Pond by Lin Fengmian previously in the collection of Mr. George Sinclair-Stevenson (1911-1996), a prominent lawyer in Hong Kong (estimate HK$500,000 - 700,000); Lot 223 Offering a Peach from the Feng Wen Tang Collection of Qi Baishi Paintings (estimate HK$300,000 - 500,000); Lot 200 Peacock by Gao Qifeng from a private American collection (estimate HK$600,000 - 800,000); Lot 198 Early Tang Dunhuang Caisson by Zhang Daiqian (estimate HK$200,000 - 300,000); Lot 201 Court Ladies Preparing Newly Woven Silk After Zhang Xuan by Li Qiujin in 1939 (estimate HK$100,000 - 150,000) and Lot 208 Plum Blossoms, an album of twenty-four leaves in ink on paper by Tao Lengyue, master of plum blossoms, for his student Zhou Zhiping (estimate HK$700,000 - 900,000).

SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
The Southeast Asian art section include a series of batik paintings by Seah Kim Joo (Singaporean, b.1939) and Chuah Thean Teng (Malaysian, 1914-2008) from a private collection in Athens, Greece, as well as intimately-sized figural and landscape depictions by Vietnamese modern painter Bui Xuan Phai (1920-1988) from the collection of Mr. Conny Michalopoulos and family.

Other highlights include Lot 263 Igorots with Dogs, a 1936 oil on board by Filipino painter Fernando Amorsolo from Mr. Ancil Hiram Bishop, his wife Amelia Bishop and by descent in the Bishop family, with an estimate of HK$180,000 - 280,000. Another noteworthy piece is Lot 268 Goldfish at Play by Lee Man Fong (Indonesian, 1913-1988) which is amongst the best of this subject matter. A testimony to his mastery of painting on long, vertical Masonite boards, four finely-executed goldfish come to life as they converge at the centre of this picture amongst water plants and rocky masses in the background. The estimate is HK$250,000 - 350,000.





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