Chinese Avant Garde Painters: A New Category In Gianguan Auctions Fall Sale

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Gianguan Auctions is the first independent auction gallery to acknowledge 21c Chinese artists with strong sales records. Their works are reminiscent of Chinese artists of ages past though contemporary techniques are now included.

Gianguan Auctions is pleased to announce a new specialty within its paintings category. In addition to works by ancient masters and 20th century modernists, the gallery will now regularly offer the works of early 21st century avant garde Chinese artists working in the traditional manner.

This move reflects the strength of the Chinese market for paintings by established contemporary artists. Gianguan’s September 9th auction in New York City features seven works by Zhang Xiujen, Chen Hong, He Shuanping, Hong Mingze, Li Zhitian,and Lu Hanging.

Before offering the highlights of this new category, it is worth mentioning a remarkable work that a long dead, anonymous artisan created on the strength of Chinese symbology — a gilt-incised and painted lacquer box that overflows with dragons, the beast of emperors. They allude to the desire for longevity that, in the case of emperors, was to realize five generations within their household. (Most emperors died in their 40s.) From a frontal facing dragon on the cover centered among four in flight to four confronting pair on the outer sides of the box, the artistry is exquisite and the lacquer is in excellent condition for its age. Lot 107 is 20” (52.7 cm) tall, bears the Qianlong six-character mark and is of the period, 1735-1796. Estimate is upwards of $20,000.

Similarly, 21st century Chinese artists who have proved their staying power often allude to symbology. For instance, Zhang Xiujin, b. 1951, is represented by a vibrant hanging scroll entitled “Lotus” (2016) that pushes the boundaries of classic imagery. Admiring “Lotus” (2016), one can see other paintings implied within the overall context. The muddy, weedy ground from which rise a turquoise mist and pure, brilliantly colored flowers straining against their hard-edged outlines is the sort of visual poetry one expects from Zhang Xiujin. She has been awarded many honors including “Chinese Charity Artist” by the China Charity Federation. It is anticipated that Lot 62 will exceed its low estimate of $150,000.

Li Zhitian (b.1959) plants viewers firmly in the present with “Full Harvest,” a painting that captures the globalization of cultures. Centered in a field of golden flowers, a young woman wearing sunglasses surveys the surroundings, presumably looking for the best angle on which to train the camera she holds. Inscribed and signed Zhitian, with two artist seals, Lot 102 is destined to go off at more than $8,000.

Chen Hong (b. 1971) offers “Moon Over Mountaintop,” a landscape alive with color blocks and rough brush strokes suggesting the stamina of inhabitants and wildlife. The 27” long ink-on-paper is signed with one artist seal. It is Lot 104, valued at more than $40,000.

He Shuanping (b. 1964) provides a deft interpretation of “Wisteria and Birds” (2019). Though shades of black and gray predominate, the trusses of flowers cascade in hues of purple with conspicuous yellow spots. Lot 100 makes a beautiful acquisition at upwards of $8,000.

“Herons in Lotus Pond” (2013), another work by Cheng Hong, infuses a favored theme with the raw energy of vibrant brush strokes. Here two large white birds stand on rockery amidst a storm or emerging blossoms. Entitled and signed, this is Lot 85, carrying a pre-sale estimate of $120,000 or higher.

From the brush of Hong Mingze (b. 1943) comes a painting of sophisticated detail entitled “Landscape.” Four mountains tower above the cut of a river as trees, bushes, outcroppings and a mid-channel island come to life under brush strokes reminiscent of court painters. Signed Hong Mingze with two artist seals, Lot 65 is expected to fetch as much as $15,000.

“Mt Xishan Spring,” by Lu Huagang (b. 1974) overpaints splashes of turquoise, coral and yellow on a bleak background to fulfill the promise of a spring morning. Inscribed and signed Huagang, with one artist seal, Lot 59 will see bidding beginning at $8,000.

The Monday, September 9 sale begins at 6 pm EDT. It is preceded by a week of live viewing beginning on September 2nd and running through 5 pm on September 9th. Inquiries are being accepted at 212 867-7288 and 212 867-9388. Email: The auction will also be carried on and

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Reggie Kolbe
Gianguan Auctions
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