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

Zhou Bichu (1903-1995)

Oil on canvas

46 × 53 cm. 18 1/8 × 20 7/8 in.

Signed in Chinese on bottom left
Important Private Collection, Asia

Autumn Chrysanthemums Showing the Mood of Life
Zhou Bichu’s Still-life Masterpiece Chrysanthemums

Zhou Bichu is unique among the many pioneer painters who stayed abroad in the 20th century. He is not only the most sensitive one to light and colour among modern Chinese artists and the most skilled in pointillism but also a famous art educator and theorist. He and Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian, and Wu Dayu, who came from the same school, had the grand ambition to learn from the West and revitalize Chinese art. His creations absorbed the achievements in the optical theory and practice of Impressionist masters such as Cloude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and added his personal emotions and new creations to the scenes. After his return to China, Zhou Bichu made important contributions to the construction of the theoretical system of art education in China. His works have been collected by the Shanghai Art Museum and the Jiangsu Art Gallery, and in 1992, the Zhou Bichu Art Museum was completed in Fujian, highlighting his important position in the history of modern art.

Be Calm and Passionate, Holding a Warm Light Within

Zhou Bichu’s works are distinctive for their calm and elegant “warm inner light”. In contemporary frenetic life, it appears more powerful than ever. In 2022, his landscape Soong Ching-ling Memorial Residence (Shanghai) sold for over HK$3.5 million at China Guardian, confirming its solid market foundation. Among his many painting subjects, still-life is Zhou Bichu’s favorite subject, and Chrysanthemum in this spring auction is one of the best.

On the deep indigo background of the work, the chrysanthemums are coloured yellow, white, red, and pink, showing the most beautiful moments of life. The artist delicately depicts the stamens and the soft petals, showing the various beauty of life, while the green leaves in the background suggest vigorous vitality.

Zhou Bichu uses indigo for the background to highlight the bright and colourful flowers. He also focuses on the treatment of light and shade, and the narrow shadows on the bottle show the trajectory of light entering, alluding to the passage of time and the peacefulness of life. When all the flowers are gone, only the chrysanthemum withstood the frost without fear of withering, which is the character appreciated and cherished by the artist.

Zhou Bichu once wrote in his book, “The colour of oil painting is very subtle, with unexpected effects and wide variations. ...... The ultimate goal of painting is to freely express one’s own intention.” This is the perfect embodiment of his outstanding mastery of colour and artistic skill applied in Chrysanthemum.

Price estimate:
HKD: 150,000 – 200,000
USD: 19,100 – 25,500

Auction Result:
HKD: 456,000



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