Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2019 Autumn Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Guan Liang (1900-1986)
House and Tree

Oil on canvas

24 x 32 cm. 9 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.

Signed in Chinese on bottom left

1996, Guan Liang, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, p. 18 and 19
2000, Guan Liang: 100 years Retrospective, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, p. 50
2009, History of Chinese Oil Painting in 20th Century: Guan Liang, Culture & Art Publishing House, Beijing, p. 210
Mar 1996, The Exhibition of Guan Liang's Oil Paintings, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei
19 Apr – 14 May 2000, Guan Liang: 100 years Retrospective, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei

Acquired by the original collector from the artist's relative
26 Nov 2003, Huachen Beijing Autumn Auction, Lot 9
Important Private Collection, Asia

An Artist Who Never Forgot Why He Started
An Iconic Localized Oil Painting by Guan Liang

The Modernist Movement: Unlocked “the Shanghai Era” of Chinese Oil Paintings
As the birthplace of the localization movement, Shanghai has witnessed since the 19th century the emergence of a large number of pioneers who explored Western modern art and new educational practices. A group of innovative artists, such as Liu Haisu, Guan Liang, Li Chaoshi and Pang Xunqin, launched an art campaign at the eve of New Culture Movement. After coming back from his studies in Japan, Guan introduced expressionism to Shanghai through his paintings, which conveyed his unique insights on the dynamics of Chinese and Western art communities. Together with his outstanding peers, Guan unlocked “the Shanghai Era”, which spanned the 20s and 30s, in the history of Chinese oil paintings.

A Dedicated Heart That Weathered the Test of Time
House and Tree was born out of the above context. The scenery of a house shrouded by trees looks very similar to the campus of Shanghai Xinhua School of Fine Arts where Guan was teaching in the 20s. In the turbulence of the anti-Japanese war, Guan had no choice but to project his artistic ambitions nurtured in the peaceful days onto the canvas. This historically significant work has been in the custody of Guan's family since its creation. Its unique value is demonstrated by its presence as Guan's iconic oil painting both at Guan's solo exhibition in 1996 at Lin & Keng Gallery in Taipei and 100 Years Retrospective Exhibition in 2000 at the same venue.

A Statement Piece That Underpins His Commitment to Traditions
House and Tree honestly reflects Guan's perception of the cities. The campus building stands still under the shade of trees in a quiet sunny noon. While its composition may remind the viewers of Maison Maria with a View of Chateau Noir by Cézanne, its natural and careful use of colors exhibits the techniques of realism. Guan painted out the details of the dormitory building, such as its black tiles and white walls, which stand in stark contrast with the cursive outlines of the trees and sky at the foreground. The message that underlies such contrast is that Guan would stay true to his calling over time.
Guan was adept at deriving ingenious effects from frequently used colors and composition while retaining the simplicity in his landscape paintings. Traces of spontaneously mixed yellow paint can be detected in the green bushes at the bottom and on two sides. The painting becomes brighter as the viewers' sight moves from the left to the right. Guan was able to imperceptibly capture the complicated dynamics of light and shade and reproduce the elegance of traditional watercolor paintings through the use of oil paint.

Price estimate:
HKD: 900,000 – 1,500,000
USD: 114,800 – 191,300

Auction Result:
HKD: 1,062,000



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