Lot 1007
  • 1007

Wang Huaiqing

20,000,000 - 30,000,000 HKD
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  • Wang Huaiqing
  • House in a House-Red Bed (diptych)
  • titled in Chinese on the reverse
  • mixed media and oil on canvas mounted on board
executed in 2002
labels of Taipei Lin & Keng Gallery Wang Huaiqing Exhibition at Shanghai Art Museum and Guangdong Museum of Art affixed to the stretcher on the reverse


Important Private Asian Collection


Beijing, National Art Museum of China, An Open Era- Celebration of 40th Anniversary of Founding of China National Museum of Fine Arts, 2003
Shanghai, Shanghai Art Museum, Traces of Nature- Art of Wang Huai Qing, 4 - 12 December, 2007
Guangzhou, Guangdong Museum of Art, Trace of Nature- Art of Wang Huai Qing, 30 January - 24 February, 2008
Taipei, Taipei Fine Art Museum, One To All-The Art of Wang Huaiqing 16 June - 5 August, 2012


An Open Era, People's Art Publishing House, Beijing,  2003, p. 165
Works of Wang Huai Qing, Wang Huaiqing, Beijing, 2004, p. 150
Wang Huai Qing, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, 2007, p. 115
Wang Huaiqing: A Painter's Painter in Contemporary China, Ediciones Polígrafa & Seattle Art Museum, Barcelona, 2010, p. 205
One To All- The Art of Wang Huaiqing, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taipei, p. 87


This work is overall in very good condition. There is no sign of restoration under UV 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

The Secret of a Sumptuous Revel
The art of Wang Huaiqing has always expressed profound historical reflections. In a time in which Realism was the only accepted style of art in mainland China, Wang dared to create Bo Le as a symbol of the fortunes and misfortunes of a generation. In the 1980s, he focused on cultural fault lines within society, and on a trip to the Jiangnan region, he discovered for the first time the spatial and abstract beauty of the vicissitudes of time in isolation. In 1996, he was inspired by The Night Revel of Han Xizai, a famous painting from the Song Dynasty, to create massive, semi-figurative paintings with surrealistic motifs. In 1998, one of these paintings was included in the seminal China: 5000 Years exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, earning international acclaim for the artist. In 2002, Wang continued to explore this subject matter with House in a House--Red Bed (Lot 1007), using modern techniques to bring the legend of a party from the Tang-Song transition period to new heights.
The Night Revel of Han Xizai was first created in the tenth century. According to legend, Li Yu, the last emperor of the Southern Tang, was suspicious of Han Xizai, one of his ministers. The emperor sent Gu Hongzhong, a court painter from the imperial art academy, to spy on Han Xizai’s residence and record what he saw in a painting. More than one thousand years later, in 2002, Wang Huaiqing painted House in a House--Red Bed, in an effort to continue the legend. Using richly textured vermilion oil paint on a large, two-panel canvas, Wang painted a series of grand Ming-style bed frames. He also affixed pieces of antique furniture to the canvas, creating a three-dimensional, sculptural effect loaded with visual force. In this way, he transformed the painting into the bed itself, putting the viewer into the scene, and breaking through the barriers between painting, sculpture, and installation art.
The stylistic inspiration for House in a House--Red Bed comes from “Listening to Music” and “Resting”, the first and third sections of The Night Revel of Han Xizai. In both sections, Han Xizai (902-970) sits on a low bed in a frame that surrounds it on three sides. This arrangement inevitably tempts the viewer to fantasize about the details of this ancient and curious tale. Wang Huaiqing meticulously arranges objects around the perimeter of the tableau while leaving the centre empty in order to lure the viewer into the canvas and create a sense of contemplation and suspense. The powerful latent tension of this work is even more evident when it is viewed side by side with House in a House--the Bed of Han Xizai, another work by the artist painted in the same year.
The creation of House in a House--Red Bed represents a new peak in Wang Huaiqing’s semi-figurative painting language. In an interview with Sotheby’s, the artist stated: “House in a House comes from ancient technical language of construction. The first ‘house’ indicates the building: the first layer of partitioning of space from the outside world. The second ‘house’ is a second partition of space formed by large furniture, creating privacy within privacy. The conceptual idea behind House in a House is the opening of the private space; the formal idea of the artwork is the fragmentation of the whole”. The artist gave the background of the painting a mottled finish to suggest the passage of time, and his textured brushwork on the bed frames shows the speed and force of the creative process. These brushstrokes create rectangular shapes that reproduce the bed image, lending a semi-figurative depth to an abstract space. The ancient furniture pieces, which the artist collected over several years, enhance the strength of the tableau and even imbue it with a sense of destruction, breaking open the picture plane that Eastern and Western painters struggled for centuries to transcend.
House in a House--Red Bed has a rich context, integrating Wang Huaiqing’s early experiences and reflecting his robust artistry at the turn of the millennium. In the early 1980s, on a visit to Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, the artist came into direct contact with antique bed frames for the first time. The memorable experience laid the formal and stylistic basis for this artwork. In 1999, Wang took the turn of the millennium as an opportunity to reflect on the past, launching his Red series with Feet-2, a profound and abstruse painting of a Ming-style table. In the same year, in Almost a Chair, he began his experiments in adhering pieces of furniture to his canvases. The expressive forms of House in a House-Red Bed represent deeper explorations of the themes he broached in those two artworks.
The creation of House in a House--Red Bed demonstrates that Wang Huaiqing’s art is no longer limited to painting. In the new millennium, the artist has started down a fresh path. He began by adding installation to painting, gradually developed independent sculptures, and eventually moved on to large-scale installation projects, setting a new example in Chinese contemporary art. With the exhibition Wang Huaiqing--A Painter’s Painter in Contemporary China at the Seattle Art Museum in 2010-2011, he showed the Western world how Eastern art can, within its traditions, open up creative paths to the new century.
House in a House--Red Bed occupies a special position in Wang Huaiqing’s creative history. In 2003, the National Art Museum of China marked its fortieth anniversary with a large-scale exhibition titled An Open Era. The museum chose to exhibit this piece alongside Bo Le, which is part of their permanent collection, in order to highlight the century-spanning dialogue between the two works. After the conclusion of the exhibition, the museum sought to add House in a House--Red Bed to their permanent collection as well. The artwork was subsequently included in the Trace of Nature traveling solo exhibition at the Shanghai Art Museum (now the China Art Museum) and Guangdong Museum of Art. Then, in 2012, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum featured it in the solo exhibition One To All, earning widespread acclaim on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and demonstrating the museum collection-grade value of the artwork.