Lot 620 Ravenel Spring Auction 2020

Ravenel Spring Auction 2020

Musk Mallow

ZHANG DAQIAN (Taiwanese, 1899 - 1983)

Ink and colour on paper, framed

139 x 39.5 cm


TWD 1,100,000-1,600,000

HKD 283,000-411,000

USD 36,500-53,100

CNY 259,000-377,000

Sold Price

TWD 1,560,000

HKD 409,449

USD 52,774

CNY 369,668


Signed ZHANG HUAN in Chinese
With two seals of the artist


Zhang Da-Qian started Flower paintings earlier than all other genres. Even though it also demonstrated exceptional talent, this genre has been overshadowed by Gongbi Figure and Splashed-ink paintings. Early Flower paintings took reference to Chen Hong-Shou (Late Ming and Early Qing Dynasties), Bada Shanren and Hua Nie of the Shanghai School. He followed the style of Chen Chun and Xu Wei of the Ming Dynasty. He mentioned in his autobiography, "My favourite Ming flower painter is Chen Dao-Fu (Chen Chun). He overshadowed Shi Tian-Weng (Shen Zhou). Xu Qing-Teng (Xu Wei) was another great artist in the genre. In his early career, Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) followed Bai-Yang in his early career and Qing-Teng in his later career. Chen Yu-Xun was the only artist who reached such a level of excellence. My late friend Xie Yu-Shen mentioned that Da-Qian was the only one in 300 years who can reach the same level." This shows Da-Qian knew by heart the development of Flower paintings and through his friend's comment, he was proud of his success.

This work was painted in a scroll. The flower grows upwards with branches spreading to both sides, similar to a dancing figure. Boneless technique was used with light ink for the branches and broad leaves. Swift and fine brush was used for the rim of the petals. Yellow and red was used for the center of the flower and the edge of the leaves. Thicker ink was used for the thicker branches, adding a robust nature to the tenderness of the flower. The natural posture of the leaves and flowers were naturally depicted on all sides. Different gradation of ink was used to depict the unrestrained beauty of the flower.

Inscribed at the lower left of the painting was a poem by Zhang Da-Qian, describing the beauty of the flower by the fence on a tranquil night. This flower has always been the beloved subject and symbol of a gentleman among poets. When Zhang Da-Qian's paintings are put to comparison, a work Tingting Yuli was inscribed with the same poem and the reason of creation was written at the back. That work was the first of its kind, painted for the first time in 1930. It was given to Historic Linguist Yu Sheng-Wu as a gift. No draft was made in advance, so he used Chen Chun's style of depiction due to limited time.

The work mentioned and Musk Mallow, offered in our Sale, shared a similar style. It is clear that the artist followed Chen Chun's style of depiction. A close inspection would suggest that Shen Zhou and Bada Shanren's style was also used. Study of Imitation of Shen Zhou's Hollyhocks (completed in 1929, currently kept in the National Palace Museum of Taipei) and Lotus, Attributed to Bada Shanren (completed in 1930) shows that Zhang Da-Qian imitate Shen Zhou's Hollyhock and Bada Shanren's Lotus in the two paintings. Such combination of styles of Shen Zhou, Chen Chun and Bada Sharen shows Zhang's extraordinary talent of combining the best of ancient masters.
Related Info

Refined Brushwork: Fine Chinese Paintings

Ravenel Spring Auction 2020

Saturday, July 18, 2020, 12:00am