Lot 594
  • 594

Gu Gan

80,000 - 120,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Gu Gan
  • Waves
  • ink and colour on paper, framed
  • 2006
signed, titled, and dated 2006 in Chinese, and marked with three seals of the artist


Acquired directly from the artist
The Origo Collection


Kuo, Jason C., Chinese Ink Painting Now, Distributed Art Publishers, New York, USA; Timezone 8, Hong Kong, China, 2010, p.133

Catalogue Note

Gu Gan is described as one of the key figures in the Modernist School of Chinese calligraphy and author of the highly influential book The Three Steps of Modern Calligraphy, which was first published in English in 1990 and in Chinese two years later. Scholar Gordon Barrass describes the book's thesis wherein "the ultimate aim of Modernist calligraphy is to provide aesthetic pleasure linked to an idea, rather than following the path of traditional calligraphy, where often lengthy textual content is an essential element of the overall effect."1

Alluding to the traditional belief in a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature, Gu usually begins his composition based on a single character and gradually reveals its pictographic nature until a balance between form and meaning is achieved. In the present work, the Chinese character lang (wave) is illustrated in bold and expressive brushstrokes and softened by a controlled ink wash. Gu's hand-carved seal images of fish and the woman depicted in a deep vermillion colour both contribute to the meaning of lang and allude to the tradition of seals on paintings as a record of ownership or viewing. The balance between the abstract character and concrete image conveys the meaning and essence of waves, as well as provides an innovative deconstruction of calligraphy. Gu's works are in numerous important museums and collections worldwide. He first gained international recognition in 1996 as the first Chinese artist selected to design the famed Château Mouton Rothschild wine label, thus joining an exclusive group of artists including Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Miro who produced labels for earlier vintages.

Barrass, Gordon S. The Art of Calligraphy in Modern China, University of California Press; British Museum Press, 2002, p. 184