1029
1029

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

Wu Dayu
UNTITLED 28
Estimate
6,000,00010,000,000
LOT SOLD. 12,120,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
1029

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

Wu Dayu
UNTITLED 28
Estimate
6,000,00010,000,000
LOT SOLD. 12,120,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong

Wu Dayu
1903-1988
UNTITLED 28
label of Pioneers of Modern Chinese Painting in Paris exhibition at de Sarthe Gallery affixed to the reverse
oil on canvas
53 by 37.8 cm; 20 ⅞ by 14 ⅞ in. 
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Provenance

Important Private Asian Collection

Exhibited

Taipei, National Museum of History, Wu Dayu, 9 March - 8 April, 2001 
Hong Kong, de Sarthe Gallery, Pioneers of Modern Chinese Panting in Paris, 14 May - 21 June 2014

Literature

Wu Dayu, National Museum of History, Taipei, 2001, p. 59
Shanghai Oil Painting  & Sculpture Institute, Wu Dayu, Shanghai Education Press, Shanghai, 2003, p. 85
Wu Dayu
, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, 2006, p. 111
Shanghai Artists Association, Works of Representatives of Shanghai Artists in the Century: Wu Dayu, Shanghai Shu Hua Publishing House, Shanghai, 2013, p. 79
Lao Zhu and Wu Ning, Pioneers of Modern Chinese Panting in Paris, de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong, 2014, p. 51
Wu Da-Yu, People's Fine Arts Publishing House, Beijing, 2015, p. 75

Catalogue Note

The Beauty of Shixiang: The Origins of Chinese Abstract Oil Painting

In the early twentieth century, young artists from around the world assembled in Paris, seeking inspiration from the birthplace of modern art. Many of these artists eventually became leaders of subsequent art movements, including Wu Dayu, Sanyu, and Pan Yuliang, the first generation of Chinese artists to return from studying in France. Wu Dayu modernized traditional Chinese philosophy and artistic concepts. He also contributed to the evolution of the xieyi (freehand) style of Chinese traditional painting, which he expressed in oil painting, making him the founding father of Chinese abstract oil painting. While Abstract Expressionism arose on the international stage in the 1940s and 1950s, Wu Dayu was already developing his theory of shixiang (Dynamic Expressionism) in the early 1940s. Shixiang became the crucial element of the development of Chinese abstract oil painting. Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, and Wu Guanzhong, the key members of the second generation of Chinese artists to study in France and attain international fame, were all also students of Wu Dayu at the National School of Art in Hangzhou. After arriving in Paris, they maintained contact with their mentor through the mail, and to these days, the letters sent by Wu Dayu to his students are a record of artistic inspiration. In terms of its timeliness and artistic influence, Wu Dayu's theory of shixiang, as a representation of Chinese Abstract Expression, stands on an equal footing with American Abstract Expressionism and French Abstraction Lyrique.

"Art is expressing one's own heart. In the end, life is like a self-portrait that one paints as a gift to nature or to society, and that's all."
-Wu Dayu, Teachings

Wu Dayu's wide-ranging and profound theory of shixiang is based in philosophy, and it draws heavily on the Daoist notions of balance between the elements of Yin and Yang as well as emptiness and fullness. Western abstraction is based on conflicting dichotomies, but the two poles of Yin and Yang in Chinese philosophy are not contrasting; rather, they are interdependent forces, an unceasing cycle of movement. Wu Dayu's paintings are a manifestation of these ideas. In his own words: "Changes in form and fluctuations in force reach the stage of dynamism. These changes include time and space. Dynamism follows changes in form, because forms contain not only structure but also dynamism. Time cannot stop, and art also cannot stop." Untitled 28 (Lot 1029) is a painting that bridges the abstract and the figurative. The entire tableau is rich in colour but not disorderly; the composition is diverse and full of movement.

In terms of composition, Untitled 28 is abstract, yet it also contains elements of portraiture. The swaths of orange in the left and right parts of the canvas suggest two sides of a face, and on the left side, the shape of an eye socket is dimly visible. Incomplete forms resembling nose, mouth, and teeth are apparent in the centre of the tableau, and the blue lines in the upper left part of the canvas recall the artist's own combed-back hair. Untitled 28 may be a self-portrait or a portrait of someone else; the face in the painting is difficult to discern. Reproducing human figures was not Wu Dayu's goal. Instead, he sought to convey the structure of image, and the beauty of colour, creating a portrait-like painting based on expressions of his subjective feelings. The painting conveys the movement of images, lending the viewer an imaginative space of unlimited freedom. Subjected to this intricate and intense visual assault, the viewer is completely immersed in the artist's dynamic space.

Modern Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong