Christies HK to auction classical calligraphy on Nov 28

Wang Duo


Chinese calligraphy is a unique and abstract art form that had its beginnings thousands of years ago. Its emphasis on motion and form to express pictorial and semantic meanings has long been a source of fascination to collectors . Especially significant was the Ming dynasty (15th to 17th century) which saw the heyday of the literati. On Nov 28, Christie’s HK will offer several interesting works for sale
by many key artists representative of this period

Born in Mengjin, Henan Province in China, Wang Duo was a late-Ming government official and a renowned painter and calligrapher. Best known for his cursive script (considered the most expressive script in Chinese calligraphy), he wrote with strong, vigorous strokes reminiscent of the classical style, but added his own features to create a unique form. Leading the Chinese Classical paintings and calligraphy sale is one of his masterpiece (photo above) entitled Poems in Cursive Script Calligraphy (image left), a handscroll painted on satin, dated 1650.

Displaying rich, energetic and flowing brushstrokes that recall the techniques of early Tang Dynasty calligraphers Zhang Xu and Huai Su, this work reflects Wang Duo’s dynamic yet refined style which had a lasting influence on the development of Chinese calligraphy. Estimated at HK$5,000,000 – 7,000,000/US$650,000 – 910,000, the present work comes from the family collection of Wang Yiting (1867-1938), who was a renowned member of the Shanghai elite during the late Qing and Republican eras.


Shen Shichong

Another highlight is a work by Shen Shichong entitled Landscapes and Poems, a set of ten album leaves in ink or ink and colour on paper, dated 1629. Shen was a landscape painter and Chen Jiru, a calligrapher and artist from the Ming period, both of whom painted in the style of the Song Jiang School which used subtle colours and delicate imagery.


Wen Peng

Wen Peng, a Ming dynasty seal carver, calligrapher, poet and eldest son of Wen Zhengming, displayed his many talents across a wide range of artistic endeavours. He was a well-rounded calligrapher who excelled in the cursive script, among other forms. The work above is dated 1552 and entitled Poems in Running Cursive Script. Building on his father’s foundation, Wen developed the flow and stroke of the cursive script, adding his inner strength and individual character to this well-known calligraphic form.


Chen Hongshou

A native of Zhe Jiang province, Chen Hongshou was a painter and poet from the late Ming/early Qing dynasty. Known for his portraits of people, he was also well-versed in landscapes, flowers and birds. Based on a classical approach, he created his own style by adding bold, profound brushwork and precise colour. Well-known even in his own time, he had a lasting influence on future artists of this genre. Appreciating the Flower is a fan leaf in ink and colour on gold paper.

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