Lot 858
  • 858

Li Huayi

500,000 - 700,000 HKD
1,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Li Huayi
  • Guanyin, the Sovereign
  • ink, colour and collage on paper, framed

  • 204 by 69 cm; 80⅜ by 27 in.
painted in 1990
inscribed in Chinese and marked with six seals of the artist


Lo Shan Tang, Hong Kong
Important Private Asian Collection


Hall, Robert and Edwin Miller, Contemporary Chinese Paintings III: Migration, Lo Shan Tang, Hong Kong, 1990, pl. 26 

Catalogue Note

Guanyin, The Soverign is an extremely atypical work from the end of Li’s early experimental period in the 1980s, and is considered one of the best examples of his transitional phase, prior to the development of his signature landscape style. Following his relocation to San Francisco and graduation from the Academy of Arts in 1982, Li created works belonging to the Elements series, through which he explores the potential combination of traditional Chinese elements and mediums with abstract forms and Western styles of composition. The depiction of the bodhisattva in the present work strongly resembles that of the Buddhist murals seen in the Mogao caves at Dunhuang, which Li visited in the 1970s, after the Cultural Revolution. Departing from the ancient Buddhist representation, Li placed the figure against an abstract background painted with expressive ink washes of varied tonality, achieving a striking visual effect full of raw texture and bold movement. Excerpts of Buddhist texts are applied as a collage, substituting the written inscriptions in traditional Chinese literati paintings. Through the fusion of different artistic forms and styles, Li demonstrates his knowledge and appreciation for ancient art and history, his mastery of the traditional medium and painting techniques, as well as the influence of Western style and elements on the formation of a powerful visual language of self-expression.