50 Years New in Asia

The pinnacle of Chang Dai-chien’s splashed-colour painting - Autumn Mountains in Twilight

Hong Kong | 9 December 2023

This December, Sotheby’s is pround to present “Mei Yun Tang Collection of Paintings by Chang Dai-chien”. The sale is led by Autumn Mountains in Twilight, which carries the highest estimate ever placed on a splashed-ink landscape by the artist at Sotheby’s.

Autumn Mountains in Twilight is a painting gifted by Zhang Daqian to Madame Jan Yun bor, drawing inspiration from the sunset views of Half Dome or El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. During the summer of 1967, Chang Dai-chien visited the area with his family and was greatly awestruck by the magnificent cliffs and valleys. Shortly after his return to Brazil in September, he created this work.

The painting focuses on the majestic mountains in the evening glow. Apart from the twisting pine branches and bamboo groves in the foreground, it completely breaks away from the traditional brushstrokes of landscape painting. The vibrant colors almost cover the entire composition, with bright blue, green, white, red, and golden hues flowing and colliding, creating a surprising effect. The clouds and mist billow in the gorge, and cascades of waterfalls pour down. Particularly striking is the thin layer of golden colour in the sky, mixed with a hazy crimson, shining with the last glow of the setting sun. The artist, in a highly abstract manner, reproduces his own visual experience, capturing the grand and dramatic beauty of nature at its most magnificent moments. The painting's dreamlike play of light and shadow is full of tension, naturally flowing, and signifies Chang Dai-chien's mastery of splashed ink reaching new heights.

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