Lot 1029
  • 1029

Wang Huaiqing

8,000,000 - 12,000,000 HKD
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  • Wang Huaiqing
  • Chairs in the Mirror
  • signed in Chinese and dated 93
  • oil on canvas


Important Private Asian Collection 


Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, Wang Huaiqing- A Painter’s Painter in Contemporary China, 18 November 2012 - 10 April 2011, p. 137


Chinese Oil Painting in the 20th Century Vol II-2, Beijing Publishing House, Beijing, 2000, p. 532
Works of Wang Huaiqing, Wang Huaiqing, Beijing, 2004, p. 49
Wang Huaiqing: A Painter’s Painter in Contemporary China, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona, 2010, pp. 41, 137


This work is in overall very good condition. There is no apparent inpainting under UV light examination.
"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

A Majestic Triad

Wang Huaiqing, Chairs in the Mirror

Wang Huaiqing’s half-representationalism began with his travels to the Jiangnan area of China in 1985. Initially his focus was given to the indoor spaces and pillars, but with Two Chairs in 1989, the artist began to converge his attention upon antique furniture. Aura of the Great Ming, which the artist completed in 1991, essentially established the intimate bond between his half-representational renderings with the subject of antique furniture. Chairs were the launching point, as well as the nucleus of the artist’s message. Following the depiction of a single chair in Aura of the Great Ming, the artist went on to paint Wordless Encounter, a work featuring two chairs, and then finally, the lot that is being offered at this sale, Chairs in the Mirror (Lot 1029). With the increasing number of chairs, the artist probes the beauty of the dislocation of objects, the beauty in the deconstruction and reconstruction of objects, and the beauty of one object viewed from different perspectives. In this way, the complexity and difficulty of the artist’s works reached new heights, each a testament to the growing maturity of the artist’s half-representational language.

The Chair: A Totem of Authority

Three chairs appear in Chairs in the Mirror, and as the title illuminates, these three representations are in fact the reflections of a single chair from different angles. Previous to this one, Wang Huaiqing’s paintings with furniture depicted only one piece of furniture from a single angle. But in this work, the artist strives to breach the limits of the naked eye, while displaying multiple perspectives of a single object. In Aura of the Great Ming, Wordless Encounter, and Chairs in the Mirror, Wang Huaiqing has chosen to use the Ming-style official’s hat armchair. This chair can be seen in the painting The Yongzheng Emperor’s Amusements of the Twelve Months: the Tenth Month, belonging to the collection at the Taiwan National Palace Museum, which depicts the emperor dressed in traditional Chinese garb and sitting in a Southern Official’s Hat Armchair.

Josh Yiu, Former Associate Curator of Chinese Art at Seattle Art Museum’s Foster Foundation and current Deputy Director of Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, further elaborates, “This type of chair points to a patriarchal civilization.” In the symbiotics of Chinese culture, then, whether from the imperial court to the commoners, the chair is a symbol for power. Wang Huaiqing had a predilection for the Song and Ming styles, and in Chairs in the Mirror, he chooses a richly refined official’s hat armchair, elegant yet unattenuated in its majesty, and points a subtle finger at the notions of civilization and power.

A Surface Fractured Into Lines 

Wang Huaiqing has described his own creative process as one in which interest and passion precede theory, and looking back, one can discern an orderly trajectory of his progression. If Aura of the Great Ming and Wordless Encounter belonged to Wang Huaiqing’s half-representational ‘Constructionism’ period, Chairs in the Mirror, complicated by its philosophical and cultural imperatives, turns deeper into a second stage: ‘reconstruction’. In this stage, the form of the chair is gradually restored, the surfaces and lines come into focus, Wang Huaiqing’s lines wielded as both real and abstract weapons, the object’s form re-emerging as a kind of abstract composition. The art world’s steady stop at half-representationalism can be attributed to the solid foundation of the concrete structures of realist architecture and craftsmanship supporting the abstract composition. The slanting ivory lines in the background exist in an “ambiguous space” that accounts for the ever-evolving time and space, the white colour bringing light to the canvas while lending a sense of completion to the black-white-grey colour palate. Finally, the regularity of the lines creates a sense of musicality and style.