Lot  030 Ravenel Autumn Auction 2023

Ravenel Autumn Auction 2023

Portrait of Stool

WANG Huaiqing (Chinese, 1944)


Oil on canvas

131 x 145.5 cm


TWD 9,000,000-13,000,000

HKD 2,195,000-3,171,000

USD 281,400-406,500

CNY 2,055,000-2,968,000

Sold Price

TWD 8,400,000

HKD 2,084,367

USD 266,921

CNY 1,909,091


Signed lower right Wang Huaiqing in Chinese

Ravenel Spring Auction 2006, Taipei, lot 73
Ravenel Autumn Auction 2008, Hong Kong, lot 135
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Wang Huai Qing, Wang Huaiqing published, Beijing, 2004, color illustrated, no. 114


Wang Huaiqing holds the position of a First Class Painter at the Beijing Painting Academy. He is a member of the Chinese Artists Association and serves as a director of the China Oil Painting Factory. He has received the Beijing Art Exhibition First Award 1984, the 1st Annual Exhibition of Chinese Oil Painting Gold Medal in 1991, the 10th Ueno Royal Museum Grand Prize Exhibition in 1992, the 2nd Chinese Art Academies Biennale Academic Award in 2003 and so on. Throughout his career, Wang Huaiqing has had several notable exhibitions. "One to All: the Art of Wang Huaiqing" at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2012, "The Capital" at Tina Keng Gallery in Taipei in 2014, "Out of the Mountain" at Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art in Japan from 2015 to 2016, "Vertical・Horizontal" at Tsinghua University Art Museum in Beijing in 2021, just to name a few. His artworks are part of the collections at prestigious institutions such as the Shanghai Art Museum, the National Art Museum of China, and the China Artists Association.

Wang Huaiqing's teacher was the Chinese master artist Wu Guanzhong, but the creative style he developed was completely different from that of his teacher. There's a sense of the profound in his works, filling the tranquility and elegance with visual tension. The renowned Chinese art critic Jia Fangzhou made this comment about Wang Huaiqing's works: "When examined from a philosophical perspective, Wang Huaiqing has chosen to travel on an extremely rarefied and exact path. In the treatment of planes, we see the depth of space; within the expression, figurative abstractionism can be found; in the sensual illusions, principles of reason and; in the Western techniques of expression and the cultural sensitivities of the East. Traditional Chinese art has always emphasized the structure. From the spatial layout of the building, the composition of the painting, the framework of calligraphy, the contrast between ink and space of seal scripts through to the hollow spaces of the common paper-cut and more, all approach the subject matter with an eye to its structure. In Wang Huaiqing's work, these traditional elements have been given a creative modern transformation to become the main themes of his own style."

In this restless world, the artist creates a quiet corner of reminiscence. Wang gets his materials from the folk crafts, and makes a modern classic work of his own style. "Portrait of Stool" finished in 1999, is one of Wang's favorites. The main character is a simple old stool. The shape of this old piece of furniture is distorted into geometric patterns, a coexistent form of round and square. The lonely counterpart looks like the face painted in the Chinese Opera-easy but independent; it tells its own story. Replacing the original wooden color, the ink color turns its functionality into a pure structure with a minimal abstract beauty. Yet, in that mottled background, the stool conveys a reminiscent atmosphere. Wang is always good at composing a picture, which gives the beholder an association of stage. He presents a time gaze and an empty stage in his paintings; he lets the beholders become ill in the stories which are once performed on stage.

Why does he choose the Ming-style furniture as his characters? Wang answered, "I want to paint something which reverses the order of life and a lifeless object as well as the main and the subordinate characters. Sometimes, I feel that no matter how glorious and luxurious a person once lived, life itself is still very fragile. Very often, it cannot last longer than a piece of furniture. I just feel that a lifeless object is closer to me than a human being." After 1990, the Ming-style furniture has become the main character in the paintings of the artist from Beijing. His furniture sometimes presents a simple and distorted shape, and sometimes it just falls apart and gives a feeling of loneliness and loss.

The black structure in "Portrait of Stool" contains the power of the stele-style calligraphy. Its silhouette-like composition also narrates a profound meaning. An ancient stool enlarged by the artist brings out an imaginary space of the life of a Chinese intellectual. It also inhabits the passion of a contemporary artist to present the culture of his nation to the world.
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Select: Modern & Contemporary Art

Ravenel Autumn Auction 2023

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 4:00pm