Auction - Playful Qi Baishi paintings from Katsuizumi collection at Christie's HK

The sale of Fine Modern Chinese Paintings at Christie's HK on May 31 will offers several rare and important paintings from the Katsuizumi Collection, including works by top master Qi Baishi.
Sotokichi Katsuizumi was an economist, author and pacifist, who worked for the Yokohamo Specie Bank in Beijing from 1925 to 1932. He had a passionate interest in Chinese paintings, in particular those by Qi . During his time in Beijing, he befriended the artist through his colleague, Mr. Tanso Ito, and acquired a large number of his works. Many of the paintings were purchased directly from Qi or his wife. Known for painting birds and flowers, insects and grasses, figures and landscapes, Qi was recognized not only for his meticulous detailing and contemplative mood, but more importantly for his unique style that is fresh and spontaneous.

Monkey Contemplating Peach is imbued with blessings and symbols of longevity for the receiver, Mr. Katsuizumi. The peach is a symbol of longevity, while the monkey is another important symbol, for its name hou is a pun for a high-ranking noble, and is also symbolic of longevity. The peach and monkey are often paired with the peach of immortality, such as in this present painting. Qi positioned the monkey upon a rock, a natural symbol of longevity and permanence due to its hardness, and gave him a playful gaze of the monkey as he stares in wonder and amusement at the peach.

Qi's paintings emphasize his interchange with daily life and the nature, from which he drew his inspiration. Taking Grandson to School is another highlight in the collection in which Qi depicts a humorous everyday scene of a grandson unwilling to attend school, vividly reminding viewers of their own childhoods.