In the present lot, Lee depicts two children seated on buffaloes. However, the composition of the landscape, and its rocky mountain terrain with long, sinuous tree branches, are reminiscent of traditional Shan Shui painting style. The brawny and well-built buffaloes, emphasized by Lee’s use of strong undulating outlines, are juxtaposed against the lithe and nimble figures on their backs. The girl in the foreground uses a tree branch as a makeshift bullwhip, highlighting her child-like innocence and imagination. She looks towards the distance, calling out excitedly to the boy in the douli, a farmer’s hat, who responds with an enthusiastic wave.
The illusion of space and depth is created through the faded, lighter tones beyond the edge of the delineated terrain. Meanwhile, translucent blue hues form a shroud of mist that embrace the subjects in a dream-like state. Lee’s pulsating brushstrokes and warm palette of colors produce a work of art brimming with atmosphere and mood. By assimilating his western approach with his deep-seated attachment to his Chinese heritage, he is truly the embodiment of the reformist Chinese painter.
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