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Sotheby's to offer over 100 paintings and calligraphy spanning the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties
Shen Zhou (1427 – 1509), Landscape of Yu Ying Tang, ink and colour on silk, handscroll. Estimate: HK$4,000,000-6,000,000 / US$510,000-765,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Comprising over 100 lots, Sotheby’s Hong Kong Classical Chinese Paintings Autumn Sale on 1 October 2018 will present a tightly curated selection of fine and rare calligraphy and paintings with a particular focus on the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The sale is anchored by an exceptional handscroll by Shen Zhou, Landscape of Yu Ying Tang, created in memory of his grandmother, together with other major highlights including Zhu Da (Bada Shanren)’s Pine Tree and Rock, and Colophon of Yan Wengui’s Painting, which was originally kept in the Forbidden City .

Steven Zuo, Head of Classical Chinese Paintings, Sotheby’s Asia, comments, “Our Classical Chinese Paintings sale this season is distinguished by a group of seminal works from across the dynasties, many of which were sourced from prominent private collections around the world. We are particularly thrilled to present two rare and important works: Landscape of Yu Ying Tang, a representative work by Shen Zhou, one of the four great masters of the Ming Dynasty, as well as Pine Tree and Rock by Zhu Da (Bada Shanren) – both transcendent in their power to appeal to collectors over centuries.”


Zhu Da (Bada Shanren) (1626 – 1705) Pine Tree and Rock ink on paper, hanging scroll Estimate: HK$8,000,000-10,000,000 / US$1,020,000-1,280,000

The works of Bada Shanren are primarily minimalistic, evoking a sense of play in their simplicity. One of Bada Shanren’s later works, produced in 1702, Pine Tree and Rock is a classic example, where the artist represents the pine needles with sparse strokes of ink, resulting in a deftly executed and languorous composition.

The painting is widely catalogued, and comes to the market with a distinguished provenance. Before entering a private American collection, the work belonged to Gao Yong, who was known for his collection of Bada Shanren artworks. It was documented not only in Gao Yong’s book on the artist’s paintings, but also in various influential publications including Shina Nan-ga Tai-sei published in Japan in 1936, Zhou Shixin’s Bada Shanren and His Art, and Wang Fangyu & Richard M. Barnhart and Judith C. Smith’s Master of the Lotus Garden: The Life and Art of Bada Shanren. For students and scholars of Bada Shanren, this painting is regarded as an archetypal work which perfectly encapsulates his artistic practice.

Shen Zhou (1427 – 1509) Landscape of Yu Ying Tang ink and colour on silk, handscroll Estimate: HK$4,000,000-6,000,000 / US$510,000-765,000
Landscape of Yu Ying Tang was created by Shen Zhou in memory of his grandmother. Its spontaneous and fluid style conveys the glory of Yu Ying Tang’s scenery, and, from the style of the painting, it was most likely produced by Shen Zhou in his seventies. The scroll is extensively recorded, having been catalogued and endorsed by many prominent figures in the field. It entered a private Japanese collection in the early 20th century and boasts impeccable provenance.

Various Artists (Yuan Dynasty) Colophon of Yan Wengui’s Painting ink on paper, handscroll Estimate: HK$2,000,000-3,000,000 / US$255,000-383,000
Colophon of Yan Wengui’s Painting was recorded in The Precious Collection of the Stone Canal Pavilion, and was originally kept in the Forbidden City. In the early 1920s, the Last Emperor Pu Yi devised a plan to migrate inventoried imperial works of art out of the Forbidden City by bestowing these treasures upon his brother Pu Jie. Among the paintings and calligraphy works being discreetly removed from the Palace, Colophon of Yan Wengui’s Painting was one of them.

Important Private Japanese Collection
Jin Nong (1687 – 1763) Plum Blossoms ink on paper, hanging scroll Estimate: HK$800,000-1,200,000 / US$102,000-153,000

Jin Nong was highly specialised in painting plum blossoms in ink and was especially known for his thick and dense depiction of stems and sticks. Sourced from an important Japanese private collection, this painting, however, while crisp and nuanced, depicts a spatial and arguably scant composition of a deciduous plum blossom tree in the gentle wind.

More Highlights from the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Dong Qichang (1555 – 1633) Chao Zhi’s Poem in Running Script (pictured right) ink on paper, album of twenty-eight leaves signed Qichang, dated guiyou(1633) and with two seals of the artist Estimate: HK$800,000-1,200,000 / US$102,000-153,000

This season’s sale brings together works by the master-student trio – Dong Qichang (1555 – 1633), Wang Jian (1598 – 1677) and Wang Shimin (1592 – 1680), offering an insight into the late Ming/early Qing Orthodox School of classical paintings. Dong Qichang, whose artistic legacy and aesthetic theory carry a far-reaching influence to this day, is regarded as the predominant figure of the late Ming art scene.

The sale also includes works by Wang Jian and Wang Shimin, peers and equals as Dong Qichang’s disciples and artists of their era. Both were famous for painting landscapes after Song and Yuan masters, but eventually developed their own styles that came to be called the Orthodox style.

• Wang Jian (1598 – 1677) Ink Landscape after Ju Ran Ink on paper, hanging scroll HK$700,000-900,000 / US$89,500 – 115,000

• Wang Shimin (1592-1680) Studio beside the River Ink on paper, hanging scroll HK$1,000,000 – 1,500,000 / US$128,000-192,000

• Bian Wenyu (1576-1655) Village beside the Waterfall Ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll HK$550,000 – 750,000 / US$70,500 – 96,000

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