SHITAO at Christie's

SHITAO (1642–1707) Landscapes Inspired by Du Fu’s Poetic Sensibilities, Album of eight leaves, ink and colour on paper Each leaf measures 38.6 x 26.7 cm. (15 ¼ x 10 ½ in.)

Estimate: Estimate on Request

Masterpiece by Ming Dynasty Chinese painter Shitao for sale at Christie's

This exceptional album of 8 leaves, ink and colour on paper, entitled Landscapes Inspired by Du Fu’s Poetic Sensibilities and estimated at HK$120 million/US$15,480,000, is the most valuable Chinese painting ever to be presented at auction in Hong Kong

April 25th 2010, source: Christie's
This work is among a group of over 400 rare and exceptional Chinese paintings and calligraphy works valued in total over HK$350 million (US$45 million), to be offered at Christie's Hong Kong 2010 Spring sales, on May 28th 2010

Landscapes Inspired by Du Fu’s Poetic Sensibilities, created in the later years of Shitao’s life, was re-mounted in 1815 (Qing Dynasty) and was inscribed master craftsman Huang Xuepi ( 黄学圮). In 1891, the work was acquired by the famous late Qing Dynasty painter Gao Yongzhi (高邕之) in Shanghai, who later recorded this painting in his book 《泰山残石楼藏画》. This painting was also published in the U.S.A, Japan, Tai Wan and China.

The subject matter of this album is an ode to the poetic beauty of famous Chinese ancient poet Du Fu (杜甫). Du Fu, who was adept at ancient-style poems, often used metaphors of landscape to describe his anxiety about the rise and fall of the Tang Dynasty. Striking a chord with his sentiments about his own life and times, Shitao expressed his underlying emotions through his paintings of landscapes, using his unique style that gives free reign to artistic freedom but within the confines of the traditional subject matter of landscape and nature.

Even as far back as the late Qing period, Shitao's works have been in extremely high demand among collectors and personalities of high social standing, including such famous painters and calligraphers as Gao Yongzhi (高邕之), Luo Zhenyu (罗振玉), Chen Banding (陈半丁), and Huang Binhong (黄宾虹). Noted Shanghainese real estate tycoon Cheng Linsheng (程霖生) in the mid 20th century even had a separate exhibition room called the "Shitao Studio" so as to accommodate all the exquisite Shitao works he had collected at the time. Christie's Hong Kong is greatly honored to present this exquisite landscape masterpiece for the first time ever at auction, offering worldwide collectors the chance of a lifetime.

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