Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2024 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

John Way (1921-2012)
Noble Blue(Painted in 1993)

Oil on canvas

76 × 56 cm. 29 7/8 × 22 in.

Signed in English and dated on bottom right
Important Private Collection, Asia

Lines Flowing Like the Wind, Fusing East and West
John Way's Excitement and Innovation

John Way who was born in Shanghai studied calligraphy since the age of ten and later researched oracle and epigraphic scripts and seal carving, which laid his solid foundation of Chinese traditional culture, and planted the seed for his adoption of both Chinese calligraphy and the Western avant-garde art. In 1956, he immigrated to the U.S., where he followed the trend of Abstract Expressionism by devoting himself to the abstract painting creation. This experience has made him one of the pioneers of contemporary overseas Chinese artists who first experimented with abstract art. Way is inspired by the Chinese epigraphic calligraphy and embodies his artwork with the Western Abstract Expressionism, to create an unparalleled art form of "calligraphic abstract" which is hardly mimicked by others. In 2000, his work was selected by the publisher of Who's Who in International Art Edition for the Swiss postage stamp series celebrating the new millennium. The following year, he was invited to the Shanghai Art Museum to hold the John Way Retrospective - 80 Years exhibition. His works have been in the collections of the Stanford Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Art and more.

Noble Blue is a typical example which presents the artist's seamless integration of the composition of American Abstract Expressionism and the artistic conception of Chinese calligraphy. The main colours of the work are blue, which symbolizes freedom and democracy, and red, which expresses life and fire. Huge brushes divide the work into the upper and lower parts. The black majestic lines like cursive writing create a tornado-like movement in the space, fully revealing the lasting charm of calligraphy "start, write, twist and finish". The brushstrokes dramatically connect the two spaces, demonstrating the pulse of life. Just like the famous Chinese art critic Shui Tianzhong said: "In John Way's art, the combination of calligraphic construction and colour has reached the peak during the nineties. Powerful black lines break through the great space of cool or tender colours, which keep and break the lines with all kinds of expressions. Everything seems so noble and elegant." Noble Blue is a perfect example of the art in his mature period.

Price estimate:
HKD: 30,000 – 50,000
USD: 3,800 - 6,400

Auction Result:
HKD: 36,000



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