Lot 1021
  • 1021

T'ing Yin-Yung (Ding Yanyong)

120,000 - 180,000 HKD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • T'ing Yin-Yung (Ding Yanyong)
  • Hong Kong Scenery
  • signed in Pinyin and dated 71
  • watercolour on paper


Important Private Asian Collection


Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of Art, No Frontiers: The Art of Ding Yanyong, 19 December 2008 – 5 April 2009, pl. 31, p. 117
Guangzhou, Guangzhou Museum of Art, A Retrospective Exhibition of Ding Yanyong's Art, 12 November 2009 – 12 February 2010, pl. 48, p. 104


This work is in overall very good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Remembering Teacher Ding Yanyong

Mok E-den

It has already been thirty-eight years since Teacher Ding Yanyong passed away! As those years have passed, my memories and my reverence for him have only grown stronger.

People who have studied Teacher Ding’s paintings all know that he engaged in the Western style of painting and admired the Fauvist painter Henri Matisse above all. During his years of study in Tokyo, he threw himself into the study of the Western painting techniques of figure-sketching, still life, and painting scenery from life. After he completed his studies and returned to China, circumstances of chance led him to become fascinated with renowned Chinese painters of antiquity such as Liang Kai, Xu Wei, Bada Shanren, and Shi Tao. He subsequently set out on an artistic path of mastering both Western and Chinese painting. Teacher Ding often said that Matisse and Picasso’s formal exaggerations and transformations, as well as the purity, terseness, and innovation of their brushwork, share a common language and artistic vision with the Chinese xieyi (freehand) tradition, and provide valuable insight worthy of study and emulation.

Many people believe that Teacher Ding did not make many oil paintings. In truth, he used oils quite a bit, but he often repainted the same canvases as many as twenty or thirty times. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that, in addition to his oil paintings and his traditional Chinese paintings, Teacher Ding occasionally painted watercolours as well. As far as I know, Teacher Ding did not produce many watercolour paintings; over the past decades, I have only had the pleasure of seeing a dozen or so. Mostly, the subjects of these watercolours were flowers or fish and other sea creatures. A painting of Hong Kong like Hong Kong Scene (Lot 1021) is an extremely rare find.

Teacher Ding extemporaneously painted Hong Kong Scene right in front of me. It was early in the winter of 1971, and I had asked him to teach me how to use watercolour paints. In terms of colour, brushwork, and composition, the painting possesses characteristics of both Fauvism and traditional Chinese painting. The result is a brightly coloured canvas with bold, unconstrained lines, rich in Teacher Ding’s distinctive watercolour style.

In addition to his artistic skill, I also deeply admire Teacher Ding’s enthusiasm and passion for art, as well as his optimism and humour in the face of adversity. Paintings take after their creators, and when Teacher Ding was painting, it was like a game filled with childlike innocence and delight. In the fourteen years between 1964, when I became his student, and his death in 1978, I witnessed too many interesting and humorous episodes to recount. The most important thing I learned from Teacher Ding were principles of painting that proved to be useful throughout my life, and I was deeply moved by his willingness to work around the clock at his beloved painting projects. He had an unrelenting will to attain his lifelong ideals and educate the next generation. By now, I have worked in art for more than fifty years. Over the decades, I have often thought of Teacher Ding’s childlike enthusiasm, magnanimity, and self-possession, and I know that his influence on me is a profound one.

20 February 2016