1015
1015

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

Ding Yanyong
FLOWERS IN A URN / COMPOSITION II (DOUBLE-SIDED)
Estimate
2,500,0004,500,000
JUMP TO LOT
1015

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

Ding Yanyong
FLOWERS IN A URN / COMPOSITION II (DOUBLE-SIDED)
Estimate
2,500,0004,500,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern Art Evening Sale

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Hong Kong

Ding Yanyong
1902-1978
FLOWERS IN A URN / COMPOSITION II (DOUBLE-SIDED)
signed in Pinyin and dated 65; signed in Pinyin and dated 68 on the reverse 
oil on masonite
46 by 30.5 cm; 18 ⅛ by 12 in.
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Provenance

Sotheby's, Taipei, 13 April 1997, Lot 8
Acquired directly from the above by the present important private Asian collector 

Exhibited

Taipei, National Museum of History, Aesthetic Images of Ding Yanyong's Paintings, 5 August - 21 September 2003

Literature

National Museum of History editorial board, ed., Aesthetic Images of Ding Yanyong's Paintings, National Museum of History, Taipei, 2003, plate A17, A52, p. 78, 108

Catalogue Note

Among the limited number of surviving oil paintings by Ding Yanyong, the double-sided format is one of the most important characteristics of these pieces. Ding Yanyong frequently returns to a previously worked canvas, adding brushstrokes. There are a number of these works, which feature paintings on both sides, yet their dates of completion, the subjects, and the styles are often not related. This unique practice derived from Ding Yanyong’s study and fondness for double-sided engraving and the side-inscriptions engraved on seals, and adds an additional element of charm and appreciation for the viewer. Flowers in a Urn, featuring a still life of a vase of flowers, was completed in 1968, on the back of Composition II, depicting a symbolic image, which was completed in 1965.

Ding Yanyong’s artistic foundation was in Western art, and the subject of Flowers in a Urn comes from the tradition of Western still-life paintings, or nature morte, a term pointing to the inanimate natural world. Yet here, Ding Yanyong’s objective was not simply to reproduce an image of reality, but rather to “animate stillness,” bestowing the painting with an exuberant vitality. It is an inversion of the technique used in the portrayals of human figures, in which animate subjects are fixed in a still frame. Ding Yanyong uses a flattened composition, eschewing the depiction of depth and maintaining control over the myriad elements through simplification. The vase of flowers, the table-top, and the wall are combined onto the same plane, the ethereal vase seemingly suspended in air. The arrangement of the scene gives way to the pure expression of colour: reds, yellows, whites, greens colliding uninhibitedly, the blossoming flowers spilling forth, symbolizing a flourishing vitality.

The main symbol in Composition II is composed of lines, each stroke imbued with the aura of Chinese calligraphy. With brushstrokes filled with strength and vigor, Ding Yanyong demonstrates the traditional maxim of “painting and calligraphy rising from the same soil.” Using oil paints rather than ink, he powerfully illustrates in concrete practice his fusion of calligraphic skill and insight with Western painting, observing no distinction between the two. Despite the finite space of the canvas, the unimpeded vigor and force of Ding Yanyong’s brush demonstrates his masterful “one brushstroke” agility. The steady and simple brushwork is completed in a single flourish, sketching out a composition of geometric shapes that invokes the primitive, symbolic designs etched onto ancient pottery, reflecting Ding Yanyong’s deep interest in the study of ancient objects. The lines also resemble the engravings on Chinese seals, such that the entire painting can be seen as the stamp of a seal. Indeed, this is a work rich with surprising and wondrous connotations.

Modern Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong