Lot 1017
  • 1017

Hsiao Chin (Xiao Qin)

500,000 - 800,000 HKD
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  • Hsiao Chin (Xiao Qin)
  • La danza di luce 16
  • signed in Pinyin and Chinese, dated 64; titled in Chinese and Italian on the reverse
  • acrylic on canvas
executed in 1963


Important Private European Collection


Florence, Galleria Numero, Punto Movement - The Fourth Exhibition, January, 1963
Macerata, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Punto Movement - The Sixth Exhibition, May, 1964
Venice, Galleria Gritti, Punto Movement - The Seventh Exhibition, 1964
Bologna, Galleria 2000, Punto Movement - The Eighth Exhibition, summer, December, 1964
Ziirich, Bologna Gallery, Punto Movement - The ninth Exhibition, May, 1965
Florence, Galleria Numero, June, 1965
Rome, Galleria Numero, June, 1965
Mestre, Galleria L'Elefante, June, 1965
Ancona, Galleria Fanesi, May, 1966


This work is overall in 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

From Dongfang Group to the International Punto Movement
Hsiao Chin was a major and distinctive figure in the international post-war art scene. Active in both Eastern and Western art circles, he used Eastern aesthetic ideas to create a distinctive style in the field of abstract painting, earning the affirmation of the Western art world. In 1950, under the mentorship of former National School of Art instructor Li Zhongsheng, he co-founded the Dongfang Group Group along with seven other major Asian modern arists: Ho Kan, Hsia Yan, Li Yuan-chia, Wu Hao, Chen Daoming, Hsiao Ming-Hsien, and Ouyang Wenyuan. The renowned journalist He Fan nicknamed this cohort “the Eight Bandits”. In 1956, Hsiao Chin received a scholarship from the government of Spain, and he departed from Europe without looking back. He paved his own artistic path, continuously seeking to exhibit the work of other Dongfang Group members in Europe while also regularly contributing articles to Chinese newspapers and magazines. In these articles, he introduced new trends in Western art, opening up a new field of vision for the Asian art world.
During the days of the Dongfang Group, Hsiao Chin adopted Eastern energy as his core principle, even as he explored Milan, Paris, New York, London, and elsewhere. In 1961, along with Li Yuan-chia, the Italian artists Maino and A. Alderara, and the Japanese artist Azuma Kenjiro, he formed the preparatory committee for the Punto International Art Movement. The Punto Movement advocated the use of art as a means of quiet observation and reflection. It also emphasized the idea that art should be a medium that transmits the spirit of humanity and springs from the ideas and epiphanies of the individual. Punto eventually grew to become a truly international art movement with members from countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Belgium; Hsiao Chin was the primary Chinese leader of the group. The name Punto originates in the Italian word for “point”. The members saw the name as indicative of a starting point as well as an end point, a notion related to their emphasis on the Eastern notion of a spirit of reflection and observation. In this way, the Punto movement was an extension of the ideas and energy of the Dongfang Group.
La danza di luce—the Brilliance of Punto
This Sotheby’s Spring Auction includes a series of major paintings by Hsiao Chin, including La danza di luce 16 (Lot 1017), a masterpiece from the artist’s Punto period that will also be the first of his works to be featured in an international evening auction. The day auction includes To the Eternal Garden 10 (Lot 5032) and Samadhi 37 (Lot 5033), works from the artist’s mature period. These works encapsulate the orbit of Hsiao Chin’s artistic explorations, evolutions, and transformations within Eastern philosophy and Western aesthetics, exemplifying the mutual engagement between Chinese modern painting and international art trends.
“Duality” is an important subject of Hsiao Chin’s aesthetic thought. In the 1960s, his expressions and annotations of the Eastern spirit were inclined towards pure and simple symbols and forms. He turned his intuition inwards, reflecting on the theories of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, and he developed a structural aesthetic that incorporated the rhythmic beauty of Chinese cao-script calligraphy. This aesthetic featured bands of straight and curved lines, circles and rectangles, black and white or muted colours, as well as unfilled white space (liubai technique). The result was a unique, metaphysical world of the artist’s own creation.
Hsiao Chin then began to explore subjects ranging from outer space to Tibetan and Indian spiritual teachings. Over the course of his creative journey in the 1960s, he created nineteen paintings in the La danza di luce series. These important and rare works perfectly express the spirit of Punto art. Their energy begins with a round or rectangular “point” shape and disperses throughout the painting from there. Fifteen of the paintings in the series feature a round “starting point” in the composition, making La danza di luce 16 one of only four canvases with rectangular shapes as their compositional “starting point”. This painting was featured in nine Punto exhibitions in Europe, demonstrating the importance the artist attached to it as a creative milestone.
The La danza di luce series features straight or curved radiating lines as a stylistic element, as well as simple colours and designs. These elements create the effect of a cosmic space filled with duality and harmony. The curved lines seem to flow continuously, representing a static boundary that divides the space. Hsiao Chin's simple lines are rich in connotation: “To Hsiao Chin, a circle is more than a round shape: it is a symbol of the sky, just as a rectangle is a symbol of the earth”. The light of the bluish-purple hue in La danza di luce 16 leaps about in a free and spacious space joined together by green and white. These succinct lines, much like the dry-brush feibai strokes of cao-script calligraphy, seem to contain the vast and limitless cosmos. The vermillion rectangle towards the bottom of the painting is the abovementioned symbol of the earth. The compositional structure of the tableau reflects the philosophy of the Book of Changes: “the Supreme Ultimate gives birth to the two poles, the four symbols, and the eight trigrams”. Here, Hsiao Chin expresses his lifelong appreciation of the Eastern spirit, using the visual language of painting to translate his metaphysical ideas into his creative practice. In this artwork, we perceive the artist’s enlightened understanding of art, philosophy, religion, mythology, and space science, which he comprehensively integrates into his language of painting.