NEW YORK – Yuhua Showzhi Wang’s Pomegranates in Bamboo Basket commanded $1,270,000 at Gianguan Auctions on March 18. The sale set a world record price for the Chinese contemporary artist. The masterpiece led a strong slate of traditional art, porcelains and carved jades, all of which reached or exceeded their estimates. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Wang’s framed ink-and-color on paper, 27 by 18 inches, has been called a blending of “realism” and “rejection-of-perspective painting” by Stephen Fasin of the Royal Academy of Arts. Its immediate charm lies in the fluidity of line that delivers a naturalistic composition of fruit and green branches as contrast to a monochromatic basket with handle. The work is inscribed “Pomegranates” and has one artist seal. It was painted in the United States. Wang, formerly a professor at the Humanities College of Auburn University, is currently acting curator at the American Museum of International Art in San Francisco, where her works reside in the permanent collection.
Other headliners of the day include Bamboo Grove (Birthday Offerings) by Zheng Xie (Banqiao) (1693-1765). The scroll painting with two artist seals, dated 1756, and signed Banqiao Zheng Xie, proves the ongoing strength of Qing Dynasty aesthetics at $65,000.
Meanwhile, a modern work titled Shrimps by Qi Baishi (1864-1957) made $60,000. The naturalistic painting of seven free swimmers epitomizes the artist’s light-heartedness that modernized the gongbi style of classical Chinese painting.
A startling work by Wu Chamagshuo (1844-1927) that set Peony and Narcissis atop and at the foot of rockery achieved $42,500.
Among the Buddhist art, a rare a seated Guanyin by He Chaozong, the Ming potter renowned for working in the style of the Dehua kilns, brought $40,000. Bearing a blanc-de-chine glaze, the work portrays the deity in dhyanasana on a plinth of lohans and lotus blossoms. Its fingers, raised in abaya mudra, are long and delicately shaped, an indication of male energy. The eyes and smile exude the serenity of meditation. A distinctive cowl hugs the head and is seemingly unique among similar works by He Chaozong.
Of the decorative porcelains, a deep blue glazed bowl carved in relief with lotus pond motifs in reverse white, captured buyers’ interest. The 7-inch-diameter wide bowl with an interior center medallion of a boldly painted lotus bouquet and an exterior of fish swimming among fluttering aquatic plants fetched $40,000.
The prices quoted above do not include the 18 percent buyer’s premium.
For details contact Gianguan Auctions at info@gianguanauctions.