The sale offered a range of works by forefathers of 20th century ink painting. Collectors competed vigorously, drawn by attractively estimated works that presented a fresh take on the traditional Chinese concept of landscape. Prices were driven to multiples of the pre-sale estimates, resulting in a notably high sell-through rate of 95% and a sale total nearly double the high estimate. These results confirm that Sotheby’s pioneering role in the introduction of contemporary ink art to the international marketplace has created extraordinary momentum among collectors, many of whom are seasoned buyers entering a contemporary category for the first time at auction.
Contemporary Literati: Landscapes In Mind celebrates the literati spirit exhibited by the forefathers of contemporary Chinese ink art in the later 20th century. World-renowned artists such as Fang Zhaolin (UK), Yu Chengyao (Taiwan), Lü Shoukun (Hong Kong), Wang Jiqian (New York), Tseng Yuho (Hawaii), and Liu Guosong (Taiwan), each developed a distinctive painting style grounded in the Chinese painting tradition. The art works represent the critical transition of integrating modern perspectives and Western abstraction into the traditional Chinese landscape philosophy. Compositions range from mountain and water scenes in the style of old masters, to abstract expressions of natural spaces. Using ink, acrylic, and/or collage, their works manifest the spirit of innovation in Chinese landscape painting that Dong Qi-chang—famous painter and forefather of the Chinese literati movement in the early 17th century—championed centuries ago.