Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2021 Autumn Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Chen Ting-Shih (1913-2002)
Sunset (91-23)(Painted in 1991)

Acrylic on canvas

98.5 × 79 cm. 38 3/4 × 31 1/8 in.

Signed in Chinese and English, titled on bottom left; titled on the reverse

1991, The Continuation of Chen Ting-Shih's Artworks, Taichung City Art Center, Taichung, p. 28
Private Collection, Asia

The Majestic Sound in Silence, The Mighty World in Heart
Artistic Beauty of Chen Ting-Shih

Chen Ting-Shih is a well-known artist in the history of modern art. He is accomplished in printmaking, ink painting, acrylic painting, sculpture, calligraphy, and many other fields. Although he was accidentally deaf as a child, he paved an outstanding path to modern art out of a world of silence over the years. In 1958, he participated in the establishment of the “China Modern Printmaking Association” and joined the “May Painting Association” in 1960. In the modernist trend, he explored and developed sugarcane plate prints with silky lines and highly abstract expression. The top prize of the First International Printmaking Biennale” made him famous. From 1959 to 1972, he had been selected for the Paris-Saint Paul Biennale five times. His works were collected by the Rockefeller Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, etc.

However, Chen was not stopped by his achievements in printmaking. In 1976, he was invited to hold an exhibition in Denver, United States, and was deeply exposed to the rise of abstract trends in the country. The one-year overseas experience greatly expanded his horizons. After returning to Taiwan, he was determined to break his limitations. In the mid-1980s, he switched from printmaking and paper creation to the field of acrylic on canvas, and regarded it as the most important form of creation in the 1980s and 1990s. According to research, acrylic paintings on canvas only account for no more than forty in Chen's lifelong creations. Sunset (91-23) (Lot 120) and Glacier (96-4) (Lot 121) presented this time are two rare works created in the 1990s.

Setting Sun Looks Like Melting Gold, Extending into the Boundless World

Advocating the natural universe and the original artistic expression is Chen's long-term pursuit. Compared with the print creation, the distinctive geometric form in the rich blend of acrylic colors stimulates a stronger visual shock. For example, in Sunset (91-23), the upper and lower areas of the canvas are in sharp contrast. The lower part is divided into left and right in a geometric form that resembles yin and yang symbols. The concise square configuration directly touches the essence of mutual growth. It also echoes Chen's constant conception of “sun and moon” and “yin and yang”. In the upper middle area, the combination of warm red and cold blue brings out a strong sense of impact, forming a magnificent view of the setting sun in clouds. A few strokes of white in the middle echo the yin-yang symbols below, thereby adding the flow of dark shapes between layers and presenting a dynamic vibe. The picture is integrated up and down, moving from the vastness of nature to the subtlety of meditation, and returning to the landscape of heaven and earth from the imagination of symbols, reaching the boundless realm.

Armored Lancers on the Glacier, Reaching the Boundless Universe

In another piece, Glacier (96-4), the depiction of geometric shapes vanished. More abstract rhythms from the painting process dominate the canvas. Chen masters calligraphy and constantly amplifies the heartfelt and heartiness from the calligraphy strokes in his works. The bottom layer is covered with a large area of blue, sketching horizontally and vertically, like the ocean full of waves. Red color on the canvas like the fire on the prairie, invisibly changing and swiftly dancing. Silky yellow lines remind viewers of the thunderbolts flashing in the deep sea. Semi-dry strokes superimpose the colors, showing the passionate creation form like that of French abstract lyrical artist Georges Mathieu, with both rhythmic beauty and a sense of speed. The surrounding ice white and the mysterious ink on the right create an image of “armored lancers on the glacier”, reminding people of the old battlefield with thousands of armored lancers marching on the frozen river. The white color resembles the ice spikes, while the splattered black ink color lingers around. At this moment, black and white could be both reality and imagination, both the earth and the sky. Life and time flow, change and circle endlessly. Chen's exquisite abstract configuration expounds Lao Tzu's theory of reality and fiction in Tao Te Ching and conveys his artistic presentation of philosophical thinking such as the expansion of the universe. In Chen's paintings, he expresses his art philosophy and understanding of the mighty universe.

Price estimate:
HKD: 350,000 - 550,000
USD: 45,000 - 70,700

Auction Result:
HKD: 420,000



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