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FU BAOSHI (1904-1965) Asking the Child under Pinetree...
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PROPERTY PREVIOUSLY IN THE COLLECTION OF HUANG JUNBI (LOTS 1426-1433)

The Bai Yun Tang collection was amassed by renowned artist Huang Junbi, and includes a vast number of pieces acquired over an artistic career of more than seven decades. In 1981 Huang presented his astounding collection in a two-volume publication, The Collections of Pai Yun Tang. The first volume contains 111 works by masters of the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The second volume contains 151 works, including preeminent late Qing painters Xu Gu, Ren Bonian, and Wu Changshuo, and modern masters Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Fu Baoshi, and Pu Xinyu (Pu Ru). Huang acquired a significant portion of the collection while teaching in National Central University, and kept them in his possession for over 40 years.

Following the outbreak of war with Japan in 1937, Huang Junbi followed the Nationalist Government withdrawal to Sichuan. On arriving in Chongqing, Luo Jialun, then President of National Central University, appointed Huang as a professor of Chinese traditional painting. Huang’s fellow professors of painting included: Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian, Zhang Shuqi, Pang Xunqin, and Xie Zhiliu, as well as Fu Baoshi in post as Assistant Professor of Painting Theory and History. The eleven years Huang spent teaching at National Central University cemented enduring friendships with these artists. They collaborated in their research in art theory and in their search for new directions in Chinese painting. Within their intimate social circle they would often paint together, freely exchanging both their comments and their paintings. Xu Beihong’s Lady, a traditional female figure with a serene appearance, was a consolation to Huang on his solitary life in a suburban Chongqing apartment. The painting is a classic example of Xu’s figural oeuvre, synthesising his lifelong study of Western drawing methods with his commitment to the techniques and subjects of traditional Chinese painting. In 1943 Fu Baoshi painted Meeting a Boy Beneath the Pines for Huang (published as Asking the Child Under Pinetree). Huang later commented: “Fu Baoshi’s work is dominated by figures and landscapes. His figural style is heavily influenced by Chen Hongshou, rendering figures that are lofty and archaic without becoming stiff and formulaic. Fu’s brushwork is dexterous, with feint colours emerging from his splayed, light ink. At times the interplay between Fu’s brush and ink matches the Song masters Shi Ke and Liang Kai.”

Huang Junbi, Pu Ru, and Zhang Daqian would all eventually leave mainland China. Ultimately arriving in Taiwan by separate routes, this intimate trio of artists became known as the Three Masters Who Crossed the Sea. After crossing the strait Huang spent 23 years as the head of the Art Department at Taiwan Normal University. During his tenure he appointed Pu Ru as a Professor of traditional Chinese painting, and several times invited Zhang Daqian to teach as a visiting professor. The inscriptions and seals on Pu Ru’s Pine and Zhang Daqian’s Scholar are a visceral demonstration of the affinity between these three artists.

The group on offer in this auction includes eight works from Huang Junbi’s historic collection, six of which are published in The Collections of Pai Yun Tang. These pieces are of the highest quality with impeccable provenance, embodying the rich artistic life of Huang Junbi.

PROPERTY PREVIOUSLY IN THE COLLECTION OF HUANG JUNBI (LOTS 1426-1433)

The Bai Yun Tang collection was amassed by renowned artist Huang Junbi, and includes a vast number of pieces acquired over an artistic career of more than seven decades. In 1981 Huang presented his astounding collection in a two-volume publication, The Collections of Pai Yun Tang. The first volume contains 111 works by masters of the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The second volume contains 151 works, including preeminent late Qing painters Xu Gu, Ren Bonian, and Wu Changshuo, and modern masters Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Fu Baoshi, and Pu Xinyu (Pu Ru). Huang acquired a significant portion of the collection while teaching in National Central University, and kept them in his possession for over 40 years.

Following the outbreak of war with Japan in 1937, Huang Junbi followed the Nationalist Government withdrawal to Sichuan. On arriving in Chongqing, Luo Jialun, then President of National Central University, appointed Huang as a professor of Chinese traditional painting. Huang’s fellow professors of painting included: Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian, Zhang Shuqi, Pang Xunqin, and Xie Zhiliu, as well as Fu Baoshi in post as Assistant Professor of Painting Theory and History. The eleven years Huang spent teaching at National Central University cemented enduring friendships with these artists. They collaborated in their research in art theory and in their search for new directions in Chinese painting. Within their intimate social circle they would often paint together, freely exchanging both their comments and their paintings. Xu Beihong’s Lady, a traditional female figure with a serene appearance, was a consolation to Huang on his solitary life in a suburban Chongqing apartment. The painting is a classic example of Xu’s figural oeuvre, synthesising his lifelong study of Western drawing methods with his commitment to the techniques and subjects of traditional Chinese painting. In 1943 Fu Baoshi painted Meeting a Boy Beneath the Pines for Huang (published as Asking the Child Under Pinetree). Huang later commented: “Fu Baoshi’s work is dominated by figures and landscapes. His figural style is heavily influenced by Chen Hongshou, rendering figures that are lofty and archaic without becoming stiff and formulaic. Fu’s brushwork is dexterous, with feint colours emerging from his splayed, light ink. At times the interplay between Fu’s brush and ink matches the Song masters Shi Ke and Liang Kai.”

Huang Junbi, Pu Ru, and Zhang Daqian would all eventually leave mainland China. Ultimately arriving in Taiwan by separate routes, this intimate trio of artists became known as the Three Masters Who Crossed the Sea. After crossing the strait Huang spent 23 years as the head of the Art Department at Taiwan Normal University. During his tenure he appointed Pu Ru as a Professor of traditional Chinese painting, and several times invited Zhang Daqian to teach as a visiting professor. The inscriptions and seals on Pu Ru’s Pine and Zhang Daqian’s Scholar are a visceral demonstration of the affinity between these three artists.

The group on offer in this auction includes eight works from Huang Junbi’s historic collection, six of which are published in The Collections of Pai Yun Tang. These pieces are of the highest quality with impeccable provenance, embodying the rich artistic life of Huang Junbi.

“Reconstruction of a certain beautiful story from history” became a source of inspiration for Fu’s painting activity during the 1940’s.

Fu invoked history to seek out the enduring virtues of figures from the past and cited poems to encourage meditation on legends, as a vehicle to express loyalty to and sorrow for China. The expressive power lay less in high-spirited heroism than in the romantic sadness the images convey, which heightens the viewer’s attention to the human psychological drama.

Fu depicts this scene with free, spontaneous brushwork, rendering the figures with swift, jagged outlines, pale ink tones, and dark accents for details of the robe, with towering pine trees and orange flowers contrasting the solemnity of the protagonist.

“At first I was not able to draw human figures with fine lines. It was some tens years ago, when I was studying in Tokyo and researching line and its history in Chinese painting, that I began to practice fine-line drawing for a short period. Many different types of line can be used to depict draperies in Chinese figure painting. [Artistic developments] from archaic bronzes with linear patterns to Qing flower images with bounding contour lines have demonstrated different types of line that vary in “speed”, “pressure”, and “area”. All such variations have their different backgrounds and meanings. To study all these aspects of line, I concentrate on figure painting.”

title

Asking the Child under Pinetree

creator

FU BAOSHI (1904-1965)

literature

The Collections of Pai Yun Tang, Volume 2, Cathay Art Museum, August 1981, pp. 204-205, pl. 106.

lot_number

1431


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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