Christie's to auction $15.5 million Chinese masterpiece
HONG KONG |
HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - A Chinese Ming dynasty painting by classical master Shitao valued at almost $15.5 million will be auctioned next month by Christie's, which said the work was the most valuable Chinese painting ever to be put under the hammer in Hong Kong.
"Landscapes Inspired by Du Fu's Poetic Sensibilities" is an album of eight ink and color works on paper and is among a group of more than 400 rare Chinese paintings and calligraphy works valued at a total of more than $45 million to be offered at Christie's Hong Kong 2010 Spring sales on May 28.
Christie's and rival Sotheby's have both expressed quiet optimism about the Chinese art market despite the fact that most of the world is still recovering from the fallout of the global financial crisis.
The auction houses say a shrinking supply of top artwork and consistently strong demand for exceptional and rare items, especially from wealthy Chinese, was driving valuations higher.
Shitao, a renowned scholar-artist, was one of the most influential painters of his time who had a major impact on subsequent Chinese ink and brush artists, including early 20th century masters such as Zhang Daqian and Fu Baoshi.
Shitao died in 1707 and the work on offer was created during his later years. The subject matter of this album is an ode to the poetic beauty of the ancient Chinese poet Du Fu, who often used metaphors of landscape to describe his anxiety about the rise and fall of the Tang Dynasty, which is regarded as one of the golden ages of Chinese civilization.
Even as far back as the late Qing period, Shitao's works have been in extremely high demand and this is the first time the landscape has been offered at auction.
(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Alex Richardson)
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