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    Zhang Daqian -  Peach Blossom Spring (1982

    Zhang Daqian – Peach Blossom Spring (1982

    There was a world record for Zhang Daqian at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong today when an important splashed ink and colour masterpiece sold for  US$34.7 million.  Peach Blossom Spring had a high estimate of $8.3 million. It was bought by the Long Museum in Shanghai.  The painting attracted more than 100 bids.  Well-documented in scholarly works and exhibited in leading museums in the United States this monumental scroll is considered to be a pivotal work from Zhang’s late years, alongside Mt. Lu, another landscape by Zhang which is currently held by the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.  The painting set an auction record of US$240,000 in 1987.  It now returns to Asia from the Mactaggart Art Collection.

    After living abroad for more than two decades, Zhang Daqian relocated from the United States to Taiwan in 1976, hoping to settle down for a quiet life at his new riverside idyll on the outskirts of Taipei. Yet, as the suburb gradually grew into a bustling community, Zhang’s quietude was disrupted, inspiring him to paint a tribute to the peaceful town as he once dreamed of it. On this work, Zhang inscribed a poem to express his lifelong search for such a blissful scene.  Monumental in scale, vibrant in hue, this feat of artistic creation reaches over two metres in height and employs mineral pigments to create layers and layers of splashed ink evoking a landscape filled with trees. The heavenly scene stretches from a blank space at the foot of the scroll, where branches of a blossom tree reach upward in pink shades and a small fisherman boat floats by: the picture of natural tranquillity Zhang sought in person, and brought to life in his art.

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