PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE LKS FACULTY OF MEDICINE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
The very first thing I did after retiring from National Taiwan University of Art in 2007 was to visit Paris with my family.
My father, Pang Xunqin, studied art in Paris back in the 1920s in pursuit of modernism, along with Modigliani, Picasso and Matisse…As my primary inspiration of the art world, he was truly the one who introduced me to the exquisite lifestyle of artists living in the roaring twenties. When I visited Paris in 2007, I was finally able to unveil the Parisian artistic lifestyle that I have longed for, and to worship the magnificent art works of the great masters whom I admire the most.
Rather than being a tourist who comes and goes in a blink of an eye, I spent most of my time on appreciating paintings…I had a cup of coffee at the cafe where Modigliani used to enjoy his leisure time, while imagining myself being surrounded by Picasso and Matisse…Then I went to Auvers-sur-Oiseto and searched every corner on the street for sceneries that Van Gogh had possibly painted, fantasizing the great master came back alive and exchanged art ideas with me while sketching…I went to Monet’s garden at last to immerse myself in his love and affection for the oriental sentiment. I am too familiar with the scenery there, because since my early childhood, I studied and lived in Hangzhou, a city that presents an almost identical atmosphere. There on the banks of Baidi and Sudi, willow trees scatter and throw a delicate shade, whereas mountains are covered with lively trees and flowers. Meanwhile in the lake, lotus flowers and water lilies can be seen everywhere, forming an even-better ambiance than Monet's garden. His garden is filled with naturally grown plantations, and decorated with the Japanese bridge and wooden boats, hinting Monet’s refined taste for oriental elements. He also painted the house with typical oriental colours: the door and windows in a mixture of blue and green, and the dining room in a strong contrast of blue and white…
Monet painted his own garden, and I painted Monet's garden. There is a big difference between the two: Monet painted the garden by capturing the transition of scenery under changes in natural light, from morning to evening, and he built layers of red and green to express the eternal beauty of the transcending light. I, on the contrary, avoided using light and shadow to depict the garden. Instead, I set free my emotion to communicate with the nature and used bold brushstrokes to present its glamorous colours. Inspired by Post-Impressionism and Fauvism, I emphasized on the strong gradation of each colour, as an expression of the orient...
Years later, I returned to Paris after my exhibition in Venice. Once again, I had the chance to gaze at the magnificent art works of Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Bonnard, Matisse, Turner, and Vlaminck…I also revisited Auvers-sur-Oiseto, desperately trying to take a deep breath of the air that Van Gogh used to live on, and to sketch freely while enjoying a cup of coffee.
While sketching, two girls behind me were chatting: "Isn't that Pang Jiun?"
29 February 2020
A Tribute to the Impressionist Master
Pang Jiun is known for his large format oil paintings, a reflection of the artist’s bold ambition for complete control over such grand compositions. In these paintings, the viewer’s vision roams within the vast domain, as if being transported to the world depicted in the painting in a true feast for the eyes and imagination. Among such large-format paintings, some were made of multiple parts, as diptychs and triptychs. Such a format allows Pang to express himself fully, while also has unique meaning often seen on pieces with themes of paying tribute. One such representative piece was The Dream About Bin-Hong Huang No.3, which created a new auction record for the artist when it was sold for HKD 6,415,000 last autumn. The present diptych Monet’s Garden (Lot 1027), to be presented in the current sale, also belongs to this group. Inspired by Western religious diptychs and triptychs, Pang combined the sense of reverence in these works with the grandeur of diptychs and triptychs from Asian art, to form the foundation of the current piece in a tribute to Impressionist master Claude Monet. Its format is a direct reference to Monet’s Water Lillies currently in the collection of Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. The present lot was completed when the artist had been already pursuing his art career for more than 60 years. His intent perhaps was to express his humble gratitude toward the great contributions of the great masters, and in the process attempt to go beyond their considerable achievements.
In 2015, Pang Jiun had held a large-scale retrospective exhibition "Pang Jiun: Expression of the Orient" at The Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, which welcomed Pang Jiun as the second Chinese artist to ever exhibit at the museum. Being crowned a pioneer of Oriental expressionism by the Japanese art critic Akira Tomita, Pang Jiun brought with him the current lot, Monet's Garden, as one of the major exhibits. The display of this grand work can be served as a testament to the artistic success of Pang Jiun in Asia.
Pang Jiun often makes use of large areas of gray as the base tone of his landscape paintings. This concept comes from a tradition in Chinese ink-and-wash paintings called “leaving void.” It imbues his works with a poetic and lyrical romanticism that typically associated with Eastern literati paintings. Nevertheless, the present lot makes use of brilliant hues against the blue sky and turquoise water, and the use of the color grey is sparse. The drastic difference in the color moods of Monet’s Garden from the artist’s usual landscape works is surprising. In the present lot, a different visual impact was constructed. According to the artist’s own description, it reflects the differences between the climate in the East and the West. Monet’s Garden is of course a reference to Monet’s own water lilies, yet every brushstroke in Pang’s Monet’s Garden was applied with conviction, and the ever-transforming colors on the canvas display an effortless mastery, stemming from the artist’s firsthand experiences in landscape paintings from real scenery. These are artistic attainments impossible to achieve through imitation.
In paying tribute to the master, Pang conjured features of Monet’s paintings, yet he also introduced the abstract and expressive nature in Chinese painting aesthetics. In his thick and rich brushstrokes, the tranquility and calm in Monet’s water lilies are subverted by a passionate rhythm. Monet’s light and shadow are gentle as a feather, and the landscape is perfectly still. The present work, in contrast, possesses the rhythmic quality of Chinese calligraphy, at times restful, at times soaring boldly, displaying a dynamic sense that is ever morphing and transforming, the path of which appears to be closer to the vividly rhythmic spirit in Eastern landscape paintings.
Monet’s contribution remains profound to contemporary and modern artists. Pang’s interpretation of the Impressionist masterpiece is fresh and innovative, returning to a seminal movement in art history while also taking up the creative spirit that endures.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale