AUCTION UPDATE: Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Family No. 3 was sold for HK$94.2 million/US$12.1 million, setting a world auction record for the artist, six years after it did so at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2008.

- Honestly, there is no other image in Contemporary Chinese art that is as iconic as Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Family series. I still remember how impressed I was when I saw an actual painting from this legendary series many years ago. Among all the major works in the series, I would say Bloodline: Big Family No.3 is the most important and most politically charged painting of them all. If The Last Supper is the most important work from Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series, which sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2013 for HK$180 million, the equivalent in Zhang Xiaogang’s oeuvre would be the present work. Bloodline: Big Family No. 3 from 1995 showcases the iconic three member family portrait. The work is also the only piece from the series to depict the Little Red Guard with the Chairman Mao badge and armband, making it of greater rarity and art historical value in comparison with other works.

AUCTION UPDATE: Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Family No. 3  was sold for HK$94.2 million / US$12.1 million, which sets a world auction record for the artist, six years after it did so at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2008.

The Bloodline: Big Family series has participated in many important international art festivals, notably including the Sao Pãulo Biennial and the Venice Biennale. Based on his old family photographs from the Cultural Revolution as the basic framework, the artist attempts to document the painful memories of previous Chinese generations, aesthetically moving away from Western expressionistic style and thematically returning to the roots of Chinese history. The Bloodline: Big Family series not only became a milestone in Zhang Xiaogang’s career, but also a repeated theme that the artist would revisit throughout his later works

Check out the results of the Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Evening Sale in Hong Kong on 5 April 2014.