PROPERTY FROM THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK SOLD TO BENEFIT THE ACQUISITIONS FUND
Lotus in the Wind was donated to The Museum of Modern Art in New York by Dr Kuo Yu-shou back in 1961. Kuo Yu-shou, also known as Guo Zijie (1901 – 1978), came from Zizhong County of Sichuan Province. He studied abroad in France in his early years, achieving a doctorate degree in economics from the Sorbonne before returning to China, where he was appointed to a key post in the Nationalist government. Kuo formed close ties with prominent art circles. He and Zhang were both Sichuanese as well as distant relatives. During the Japanese invasion, Zhang fled to Sichuan where Kuo was serving as the Head of the Sichuan Education Department, and the two became particularly close. Following the country's regime change, Zhang left China for South America while Kuo took up a diplomatic post in Europe. From the mid-1950s to 1960s, Zhang made many trips to Europe, including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France, frequently holding exhibitions in a number of countries. Kuo was always by his side, assisting in planning and handling many of those events in Europe, acting as the artist's agent. The two were as close as brothers.
During this time, Zhang painted numerous works for him, many of which are now housed in the National Museum of History in Taipei. This painting was created in Japan, inscribed with the location "Kairakuen Garden" in Yokohama, and was signed again when the artist brought the painting to Paris, when he stayed at Kuo's residence. In the same year, the piece was donated to The Museum of Modern Art in New York by Kuo.
The 1960s marked a period of transition for the artist from his freehand style to his splashed ink and colour technique as he tirelessly experimented with large-scale lotus paintings. His eight-screen lotus painting, for example, was a creation from this period. In this piece, the composition is simple but bold, the brush strokes, untrammelled and free, with lofty and magnanimous characters and balanced shades of dark and light ink, revealing the authentic beauty of nature. Created with magnificent flourish, this piece exhibits the artist's virtuosic strokes of vitality and grace.
In 1963, Zhang Daqian had his first important solo exhibition in America. Held at Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York, the exhibition showcased forty of the artist's recent works, as well as several additional pieces borrowed from three of America's most prestigious art museums, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This piece was among them. Later in 1972, when the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco held a retrospective exhibition for Zhang, which featured carefully selected works from both the artist's personal collection as well as pieces from private and public collections around the world, this painting was exhibited once again. As made evident by its appearance in various important exhibitions, this work was regarded by Zhang Daqian himself as highly representative of his splashed-ink lotus series.
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