The Pacific Galleries Asian auction on May 16, 2011 features two iconic works by Xu Beihong (1895-1953, China, also known as P'eon Hsu and Hsu Pei-Hung), who was known primarily for his shuimohua or Chinese ink paintings. The works being offered in this auction are a 40-foot long scroll with ink depictions of gamboling horses and which also includes calligraphy by Xie Zhiliu (1910-1997). Also offered, a smaller ink painting of a single galloping horse. Horses and birds were a frequent subject for Xu, and are the subject matter for which he is most known.
Xu Beihong began studying calligraphy from his father when he was only six years old, and painting at nine, and he studied in Japan in 1917 and Paris and Western Europe studying oil painting and drawing until 1927 when he returned to China, where he held a number of teaching posts, including at the National Central University (now Nanjing University). During the early years of the People's Republic he was president of China's Central Academy of Fine Arts and chairman of the Chinese Artists' Association.
Leading up to and during World War II, Xu exhibited in India, Malaysia and Singapore to raise funds to help the war effort. In India, Xu met Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi, and those contacts and his travels influenced his passionate realist style.
Xu worked to create a new Chinese art, incorporating Western techniques and ideas into the traditional style. Xu is now widely regarded as the father of realism in the new modern China and is considered a contemporary Chinese master. Lots 651 (the scroll) and 655A will be offered on Monday, May 16, 2011. The auction begins at 5:30 p.m. PST, and we'll report back after the auction to see how much the bidding public was willing to pay for these works.
A small section of lot 651 and lot 655A
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