NEW YORK – Born on the cusp of a change in attitudes about education for women in China, Wu Qingxia (1910-2008) became one of the 20th century’s leading Modernists working in the traditional style. She is renowned for studies of smoothly painted, brightly colored carp – symbols of challenge and challenge overcome.
Like the works of female artists in the West, prices for Wu Qingxia’s paintings have not kept pace with those of her male counterparts. The new wave of feminism is likely to change that when Lotus Pond Fish comes to the podium on Saturday, March 10, at Gianguan Auctions in New York.
As talented and as well known in China as male Modernists Zhang Daqian and Xu Beihong, members of the contingent that took Paris by storm after the Revolution of 1949, Wu Qingxia remained in China. Her works traveled and were exhibited in the West. They now reside in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has commanded steady interest at the international auction houses.
Lotus Pond Fish, 1982, is a mature work by an evolved artist who spent hours studying the physiology and movement of large carp in a tank. The painting captures a carp reaching for the lotus blossom above that it can never attain. At the top of the painting, a poem in calligraphy is excerpted from two older works of poetry that reflect on the artist’s challenges and desires. It is modestly estimated at $8,000-$15,000.
The undervalued work of women artists is not unique to China. The number of female artist works selling at auction for more than $1million is rare. Superstars are rarer still. So it stands to reason that when collectors recognize the accomplishments of Wu Qingxia, interest will be piqued. Now is the opportune time to collect under-recognized women artists.
For details on Lotus Pond Fish, visit www.gianguanauctions.com or call the gallery director at Gianguan Auctions 212-867-7288.