From a Thai Private Collection (Lots 1247-1253)
Xu Bisong (1908-1978), the original owner of the collection, was a native of Chao’an in Guangdong province and grew up in a business family that was trading in Southeast Asia for a several generations. Xu’s father, Xu Zetong left Chao’an to trade abroad in the early 20th century, developing an import-export trade business in the ports of Thailand, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Shantou. He amassed his fortunes by running diverse operations in rice, money, brick, gauze and civil affairs. Xu Zetong was also a supporter of Sun Yat-sen’s revolution and was a member of the local revolutionary league.
Xu Bisong eventually took over his father’s business. He immigrated to Thailand to expand and diversify his family’s industry presence in Thailand. He was thoroughly fascinated by art, admiring ceramics, jade, paintings, and calligraphy. Xu was a strong supporter of cultural activities, maintaining close relationships within the art circle over the years. Parts of his impressive collection were acquired directly from the artists during his frequent visits to their local exhibitions. With an exquisite eye for finesse, Xu collected works by artists across geographical boundaries, including artists from his hometown in Guangdong and Southeast Asia.
Notably, Xu was an avid patron of Xu Beihong and Zhang Daqian, three of Zhang’s pieces hail from the coveted Darjeeling period of the artist.
Apart from these impressive Chinese masterworks, Xu Bisong was also a fond admirer of Chen Wen Hsi. A lovely grouping of Chen Wen Hsi works from the collection of Xu Bisong which will be offered in Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art sale (Lot 339, 340, 341, 358) on 1 April.