A work by one of the most famous painters of the Ming Dynasty will go up for auction next month. ‘A Tranquil Place’, by Shen Zhou (1427–1509) is expected to sell for between $1.5 and $2.6 million US.
Coming from a wealthy family of scholars, Shen Zhou decided against becoming a government bureaucrat and started a career as an artist. The earliest of his works dates to 1464, and by the 1470s Zhou was becoming a popular painter. Today, his works can be seen in major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
One of his students remarked that Shen Zhou:
was a man by nature deep and bright. His taste and knowledge were unusual. While still a youth he freed himself from the traditional manner of the family. The old masters were his teachers and he copied many of them so successfully that his pictures could not be distinguished from theirs. Most of the pictures he did then (in his early years) were only a foot square. When he was over forty [i.e., after 1466] he began to paint large scrolls, rugged trees with large leaves, in a freer manner. He no longer followed rules and measures, nor did he use colours with the same refinement as in earlier years. Yet his pictures were true to nature and most expressive.
To be sold by Christie’s Hong Kong, the piece ‘A Tranquil Place’ was created in the late 15th or early 16th century. It is an ink and colour painting on a silk handscroll, measuring 30.8 x 333 cm. The auction house remarks:
Peaceful and reserved, this legendary handscroll perfectly captures Zhou’s signature style and his longing for a tranquil and secluded life. Through his powerful and subtle brushstrokes and the calligraphy of Ming master Zhu Yunming, the painting reflects the resonances between the two artists in terms of their views of life and art.
The auction will take place on December 3rd in Hong Kong. It is one of many classical and modern Chinese paintings being sold by Christie’s. Kim Yu, International Specialist Head of Chinese Paintings Department at Christie’s, remarks, “This season, Christie’s Hong Kong is honoured to present several distinguished private collections of classical and modern masterpieces of exceptional provenance. The sale highlights represent the greatest examples of Chinese paintings from across the centuries and showcase the diverse styles and techniques of renowned artists and scholars. These works will fascinate collectors from all generations, and we look forward to supporting global collectors to enrich their collections through the meticulously curated sales on 2 and 3 December.”
For more details, please visit Christie’s website