Lot 210
  • 210

Walasse Ting

700,000 - 900,000 HKD
2,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Walasse Ting
  • Hot Summer
  • Signed, titled and dated 68-70-71 on the reverse
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 102 by 203.5 cm; 40 1/4  by 80 in.


Acquired directly from the artist
Private Collection, USA

Catalogue Note

“Big Sunshine
Very warm
Very lazy
Very happy
I sit here
Drinking champagne slowly...”

“With champagne falling down like a heavy rain
I have a rainbow on my lips
I have love sickness on my tongue
I have sunshine in my eyes
And love in my heart”
-- excerpts from Summer by Walasse Ting

Walasse Ting was an artist and poet of cosmopolitanism. Born in China’s Jiangsu Province in 1929, he later traveled and lived across Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Amsterdam. His subject matter transcended genre and the particularity of geographical location, reaching  a breathless universality that could only be communicated in his visually arresting technicoloured dreamscapes.

Known primarily for depicting nude women and animals, Ting departed from his figurative works in the 1960s. Then based in New York, he shared a studio with Sam Francis, one of the 20th century’s most eminent Abstract Expressionist artists. The movement’s influence on the present lot is clear: the turn to abstraction, the Pollock-like paint splatters and the dialogue between elements of domination and diffusion from Francis.

Ting, however, synthesized his own style of abstract expressionism. In Hot Summer, the canvas is first painted in a clear sky-blue, on which vibrant shades of green, orange, vermillion red, blushing pink, white, lavender and yellow are splattered. These splatters are concentrated toward the top of the canvas and begin to become more spread out toward the lower half of the work.

While undoubtedly an abstract composition, Hot Summer retains some elements of Ting’s figurative works, blurring the strict divide between representation and abstraction. The blue background represents the clear skies of a New York summer day upon which the rest of the work is built, while the dominance of green paint suggests the return of plant life over the summer. We could also read the red and orange splatters as a physical manifestation of the relentless tyranny of a summer sun, a heat that is at once angry and unforgiving. In the remainder of the composition, Ting’s colour palette strays toward neon, as opposed to the darkness often found in Pollock and Francis’ palettes. The rest of the work is accented by bright splatters of pastels, technicolour and white: the colours of summer clothing, champagne cheer and ice cream cones imprinted onto canvas. It seems intensely joyful to the point of delirium, as if enchanted by a lucid dream that characterizes the compulsion of a city.

The contrast between the top half of the painting and the second half of the painting adds another layer to this piece. While the compressed, dense splatters suggest a feverish thickness of emotion in the top of the canvas, paint is allowed to trickle down the bottom half of the canvas, revealing a more considered and restrained expression. It is as if the paint itself is melting in the passions of summer: a physical manifestation of the sublimity of joy that accompanies the arrival of warm summertime in a brief respite from the year-round chill. It is a sentiment felt through the seasons: the dawn and swells of the sun after a spell of cold inspires within us the most transcendent of bliss.