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

Hsia Yan (b.1932)
Satisfied Family(Painted in 2002)

Acrylic, mixed media on canvas

97 × 194 cm. 38 1/4 × 76 3/8 in.

Signed with initials in English and dated on bottom right

2006, Hsia Yan, Shanghai Bookstore Press, Shanghai, p.15
7 Oct 2007, Sotheby's Hong Kong Autumn Auction, Lot 531
Acquired directly by present important private Asian collector from the above

Radiant Life Under the Warm Sun
Artful Wishes and Youthful Spirit of Hsia Yan

"True contemporary artists should embody the spirit of Hsia Yan!"
——Artist Leng Jun

Insightful Fuzzy Man

National treasure artist Hsia Yan, born and raised in China, spent half of his life abroad before returning to his homeland in his twilight years. His works have found a home in renowned institutions such as the China Art Museum in Shanghai, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, adding an indispensable stroke to contemporary Chinese art with his fusion of Eastern and Western artistic styles.

Born in 1932 into a scholarly family in Xiangxiang, Hunan, Hsia Yan, despite his passion for painting since childhood, experienced a tumultuous youth due to the chaos of war. At the age of 16, seeking stability in turbulent times, he enlisted in the military and moved to Taiwan in 1949. This dramatic change opened the door to his artistic journey, as he sought education under the tutelage of Li Zhongsheng, using almost all of his military salary to support his art aspirations. In 1955, he co-founded the "Ton Fan Group" with eight artists, including Hsiao Chin, Ho-Kan, and Li Yuan-Chia, leading the modernist movement in Taiwan during the 1960s. Eight years later, he ventured alone to Paris to study at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, creating his distinctive "Fuzzy Man" style, conveying the wandering emotions of strangers with seemingly trembling lines and capturing the vitality of contemporary life. Influenced by the prevailing trend of photographic realism in New York, he pursued his dream in the city in 1968, combining realistic and unique line expressions. His talent was recognized by the renowned O.K. Harris Gallery, leading to his first solo exhibition in New York in 1974. In the late 1980s, he realized the importance of rooting his creations in his own culture, gradually reducing realistic street portraits and returning to large-scale works inspired by Chinese traditional myths and folk art.

In the early 1990s, after three decades of wandering, he returned to Taiwan and, in 2002, settled back in Shanghai, continuing his relentless pursuit of art. His deep understanding of the essence of both Eastern and Western art, reflected in his paintings rich in Eastern charm and philosophical brilliance, along with his childlike innocence and profound wisdom, deeply influences a new generation of artists.

Returning to the Basics, Painting the Joys of Life

"True artistic exchange occurs when artists from one's own country extend the cultural tentacles abroad, but the essence of their own creation remains rooted domestically."
——Hsia Yan

Returning to Shanghai, he witnessed the rapid development of the city during the peaceful era, embarking on a new creative journey. During this period, he often depicted small insects and animals, breaking Western painting conventions by incorporating Chinese folk art paper-cutting into acrylic paintings, infusing his works with whimsical charm. The featured artwork, Satisfied Family, represents the artist's monumental work during this period. The painting portrays a harmonious and joyful family of chickens in a flower field, reflecting the warm and cozy daily life of Chinese families in the post-millennium era.

The composition uses a simple and atmospheric Chinese red background, with saturated and vibrant overall colours, complemented by subtle dark tones, creating a festive atmosphere. In the distance, blooming sunflowers, created using traditional paper-cutting with intricate patterns, contrast strongly with the minimalist background, vividly illustrating a sunny and bright scene. Butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, and other creatures swirl around, paired and dancing, adding details and vitality to the delicate and lively leaves and grass. In the centre of the painting, a pair of roosters lock eyes, with one brightly coloured and the other dark, showcasing the Yin and Yang of the family. Five chickens accompany them, and a shiny pink chicken is seen foraging nearby. Using paper-cutting to depict the chicken's body and brushstrokes to accentuate the fuzzy lines on their feathers, the artist vividly portrays the real-life characters of the family — the dignified father, gentle mother, independent children, and the eagerly feeding baby. The sharp and straight lines of Eastern paper-cutting, combined with the flowing softness of acrylic colours, strikingly balance the diverse characters of the family, creating a contemporary painting that is both comfortable and harmonious. It exemplifies the powerful Confucian ideology and the cohesion of the family.

The first half of artist's life, marked by upheavals and wanderings, did not erode his spirit. Instead, he transformed the simplicity and authenticity of human nature into childlike innocence and warmth. His works, profound yet accessible, resonate with viewers, prompting them to cherish the peace and abundance of the present while reflecting on the past.

Price estimate:
HKD: 400,000 – 600,000
USD: 51,100 - 76,600

Auction Result:
HKD: 480,000



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