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The spring auction season has rolled into Beijing. Premier Chinese auction house Guardian is going to launch its spring auction next week. |
Ahead of that, our reporter Song Yaotian went to one of their previews and learned that contemporary art pieces have seen a rise in popularity on the Chinese auction market.
Guardian is holding a preview for its 20th Century and Contemporary Art segment at its newly built Guardian Art Center, in downtown Wangfujing in the Chinese capital.
More than 200 oil paintings, nearly all created by Chinese artists, will go under the hammer next week.
This oil canvas entitled "Yu Gong Moves Away the Mountains," was created by master painter Xu Beihong around 1940. He created three paintings under the same theme. Only one is up for grabs since the other two belong to the Xu Beihong Museum. Xu had asked a friend to keep many of his art pieces, including this one, during the war.
After the war, he sent the friend this painting to express his gratitude.
For Guardian auctions, previous top highlights mostly belonged in the ancient Chinese painting and calligraphy category. This time around, they say their top highlight is an oil painting belonging to the contemporary art category.
Many expect the masterpiece by Xu, which was hidden in a well by a friend, to break the auction record for Chinese oil paintings, set by Wu Guanzhong's "The Scenery of Zhouzhuang" two years ago.
This painting is based on a Chinese fable, expressing the perseverance of old man Yu Gong in completing the impossible task of moving mountains.
The idea for a piece centered around the fable came 20 years before he actually created the three pieces. This piece has been hailed as a masterpiece for using both Chinese and Western painting techniques.
Painting Bloodline series By Zhang Xiaogang /CGTN Photo
Other hot pieces up for grabs include artwork created during the 1990s, which include Zhang Xiaogang's signature "Bloodline" series, Jin Shangyi's portrait of Qing dynasty painter Kun Can and a piece depicting mountain rocks by Zhou Chunya. There are also pieces from the 1980s, including "Aspirant" by Ai Xuan, and several portraits created by Chen Yifei.
Painting Monk Painter Kun Can By Jin Shangyi /CGTN Photo
The artworks range from those by Chinese masters in the oil painting category to pieces created in recent years. And the estimated prices also vary, going from tens of thousands to tens of millions of yuan.
Chinese oil paintings among collectors have grown. At Guardian's Autumn auction last year, over 100 oil pieces were available, two times more than the number in previous years.
And all of them were sold.
Among them, Chen Yifei's "Warm Spring in the Jade Pavilion" was sold for nearly 150 million yuan, or 23 million US dollars, turning out to be the top lot for the whole auction.
Painting Aspirant By Ai Xuan /CGTN Photo
Li Yanfeng, general manager for 20th Century and Contemporary Art Department of Guardian Auctions, said, “Oil paintings have sold very well in recent years. First, galleries and expos have seen a vibrancy in selling oil pieces. And a lot of young collectors have been newly added into the collector team, which has helped boost auction sales. And the criteria toward 'valued' oil paintings are becoming more and more similar among the collectors, which is a signal that the market is becoming mature. "
Li says the Guardian, which has been selling Chinese oil paintings for twenty years, has helped nurture the market.
Wu Guanzhong's "The Scenery of Zhouzhuang" now holds the auction record for Chinese oil paintings. It was sold for 190 million yuan, or 29 million US dollars.
Although Xu Beihong's "Yu Gong Moves Away the Mountains" was sold for 33 million yuan in its last auction in 2006, one must take into account that this was 12 years ago. So it is very likely to break the record.
These oil pieces will be under the hammer at a night auction next Tuesday.(CGTN)