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signed in pinyin and Chinese and dated 1994
executed in 1994.
Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong
Acquired by the present owner from the above gallery
The Chinese Contemporary Distinguished Oil Painter, Wang Yidong, People's Fine Arts Publishing House, Beijing, 2011, plate 28, p. 37, illustrated in colour
Wang Yidong has developed his distinctive artistic language using "Chinese Red." In Chinese society, historically the colour red has cultural and political significance. Lu Peng once said that October 1976 is known as "Red October" and the Chinese believe the colour red in this period represents the truth. Besides, art should also serve a political purpose. Nevertheless, when the government loosened political control in 1978, a group of Chinese artists considered that "depicting the real world honestly and accurately is the only way to create the true art, which has lost its way for a long time." Hence, Realism emerged in China with its critical spirit to unveil the dark side of the society.1 In the summer of 1979, Luo Zhongli created Father, a representative masterpiece of this period. The face of the father is a piece touching all of China. This painting reveals all aspects of the hardship he had endured. However, at that time Wang Yidong took another path. He left the city and went to the countryside trying to leave his familiar life behind to start living a pristine life. Through his brushstrokes, he strived to observe and present the beauty of humanity in our everyday lives. Since 1990s, he has been transforming China's political colour red to a natural, aesthetic, neo-classical and romantic notion. Breathing new life and letting it return to its original roots.
In Wedding Night (Lot 777) completed in 1994, the newlyweds who are performing the traditional "union of wine cups" stand out through the artist's use of compositional arrangements and dramatic contrast between dark and light. Wang deliberately paints the wavering candlelight on the table to illuminate the bride's face. She tilts her head to one side with a smiling face but at the same time tries to avoid eye contact with the groom, expressing a mixed feeling of joy and shyness on her wedding day. On the contrary, the groom, who is already half-drunk from the ceremony, rests his hands on the table gazing at his other half with uncertainty, but with a firm expression.
The 17th-century French artist, George de La Tour, whose work was known and admired at the court of Louis XIII also paints scenes lit by candlelight. In his famous work The Magdalene with the Smoking Flame, Magdalene is portrayed as seated and her face is turned away, while the lighted long candle creates a mysterious atmosphere in the painting. Wang, who has learned the classical old masters techniques, delicately renders the candle flame and light in Wedding Night. On top of his matured realistic painting techniques, the work is also full of metaphors for oriental symbolism.
The arc constructed by their arm echoes the curve of the red drapery hanging above them. The fabric bouquet is juxtaposed with their palms. One day the couple will tie their hands like this bouquet as they grow old together. The red Chinese character for happiness on the wall and the flower tablecloth show the artist's fine Realist techniques. The grandeur of this wedding night is also eternalized as he reinforces the theme with his detailed painting style.
 Lu Peng, A History of Art in 20th Century China, Beijing University Press, Beijing, 2006, p. 617 - 619
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