Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2023 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Zhao Dajun (1938-2023)
Work 1805(Painted in 2018)

Oil on canvas

160 × 150 cm. 63 × 59 in.

Signed in Chinese and dated on bottom left
4 -25 Nov 2021, Cypress of Han Dynasty & Sounds of River: Art of Zhao Dajun & Wang Jieyin, Shanghai Oil-painting and Sculpture Institute Art Museum, Shanghai

Private Collection, Asia

Spiritually Shaped Brushstrokes, Hale Hearty Cypress
Zhao Dajun's Powerful Abstract Work

Born in Hankou in 1938, Zhao Dajun enrolled in the Oil Painting Department of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in 1958 and was recruited to teach at the school for 38 years after graduating due to his distinguished performance. He had been teaching for over half a century, and his works entered the National Exhibition of Fine Arts, China in 1984 and 1989. As an excellent art educator, many of his ideas have been included in textbooks for art schools, such as Double Foundation and Body and Anatomy. He nurtured numerous students, he was the earliest practitioner and spiritual leader of contemporary art at the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts.

From his early years of figurative realism to the bold new abstraction of his later years, Zhao Dajun never ceased his pursuit of artistic creation. It is admirable that he was still active in his solo exhibitions just a few years before he passed away. Starting from 2012 when he was at the age of 70, Zhao Dajun had been creating his most popular abstract works on the theme of “cypress” with a thunderous force. The work presented in this spring auction, Work 1805, is the representative of this series.

A State of Unconscious Oblivion, a Melody of the Heart

The artist's return to Chinese culture is evident in Work 1805, which incorporates the rhythmic forms of Chinese calligraphy into his abstract works. In the painting, the red and white lines extend and circle. The brushstrokes are like slender flexible vines that stir up graceful curves and spread upwards into straight lines and curved hooks, reflecting the horizontality and verticality of the strokes in Chinese characters. However, they are later broken up and reorganised by layers of red oil paint, so that no concrete text can be seen, while only the calligraphic style is preserved.

On the other hand, this painting is a masterpiece of Zhao Dajun's in-depth exploration of oil paint over the years. For example, the white oil paints in the upper right corner are like the “flying blank” in Chinese calligraphy, and in the lower right corner, the paints flow naturally like ink splashes. In addition, he boldly used the three primary colours to create a fierce visual collision: the broad strokes of red and yellow in the centre are like the violent waves of the sea. At the edge of the red main body, the vibrant yellow and blue colours are incorporated like a waterfall. The three primary colours are sometimes as strong as a rock when put together, while sometimes they overlap and dip into each other, blending into multiple colours such as green and orange, showing the playfulness of colours.

In nature, Chinese cypresses are timeless ancient trees. However, for Zhao Da-Juan, it is a spiritual direction, which fits his state of mind in his later years, when he broke away from figurative creation and had a fresh start to return to his true authentic heart by creating abstract paintings. As he said, “Chinese Cypress is sitting in oblivion and searching for inner belonging.” Looking at this painting, one can feel the artist's peaceful mentality of enjoying himself when creating artworks in his later years, when he immersed himself in the play of brushwork and colours and returned to his roots to appreciate every single moment and surprising coincidence of his life.

Price estimate:
HKD: 180,000 – 280,000
USD: 22,900 - 35,700

Auction Result:
HKD: 216,000



All information contained in this website is for reference only,
and contents will be subject to change without prior notice.
All estimates and auction results shown in currencies other than
the Hong Kong Dollar are for reference only.
Although the Company endeavors to ensure the accuracy of the information,
it does not guarantee the accuracy of such information.
And hence will not be responsible to errors or omissions contained herein.

Wechat QR Code

Please use the "Scan QR Code"
function in Wechat