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The art market gets Realistic

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2012-10-27 07:54

The art market gets Realistic

Research Institute of Chinese Learning by celebrated artist Chen Danqing will be the highlight at China Guardian Auctions' autumn sales from Oct 28-31.

Realistic oil paintings will highlight China Guardian Auctions' autumn sales from Oct 28-31 and all eyes will be on Chen Danqing's Research Institute of Chinese Learning, which he created in 2001 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Tsinghua University's founding.

The painting portrays five masters of Chinese language and literature - Zhao Yuanren (1892-1982), Liang Qichao (1873-1929), Wang Guowei (1877-1927), Chen Yinque (1890-1969) and Wu Mi (1894-1978) - who taught at Tsinghua University's Research Institute of Chinese Learning, which was founded in 1925.

Chen Danqing became a professor at Tsinghua after returning to China in 1999.

He quit five years later because he was disgruntled with student recruitment.

The painting, which features sophisticated techniques and bears a nostalgic air, is a testimony to great literati, who set good examples in meticulous scholarship. It also reflects the artist's serious thoughts about the current education system and Chinese cultural traditions.

China Guardian's oil sessions will also auction A Distant Look at Waterfalls, a rare landscape created in the 1930s by Li Tiefu; You Jindong's signature work Coming to Middle Age; and Ai Xuan's early creation Wind Skimming Over Shoulders. It will also offer paintings by such celebrated artists as Luo Zhongli, Lin Fengmian and Guan Liang.

While contemporary Chinese art posted a disappointing performance this year, the market for early 20th-century and Realistic oil paintings has been growing stably over the past few years.

"Realistic oil painting has long been a secure category," says Tu Xin from Beijing Bonwin Contemporary Art Investment Co.

"Unlike the contemporary art segment that first achieved success in the international market, Realistic works have always targeted domestic buyers. Realistic paintings are easier to understand and have won an extensive population of collectors. Also, the genre suffers little commercial speculation."

Early 20th century oil paintings have become another focus of many auction houses. The section is of significant academic and market value yet needs better public recognition, says Guan Yu, director of the Beijing-based Art Market Monitor of Artron.

"The spring sales showed a steady growth - for instance, Sanyu's Blue Chrysanthemums in a Glass Vase fetched HK$47.7 million ($6.15 million) at Christie's Hong Kong sales in May, ranking 19th among the top 100 Chinese artworks in spring auctions; that's the highest spot among early 20th century oil paintings," she says.

"Excellent works by blue-chip artists like Sanyu will continue to be the pillar of this category."

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