Tanya Baxter Contemporary shows Chinese artists at London Olympia

zhao-kailin-awaiting-oil-on-canvas-58-x-48-cm_high-res Zhao Kailin Awaiting oil on canvas 58×48

London Kings Road gallery Tanya Baxter Contemporary will be showing several contemporary Chinese artists at The Winter Art & Antiques Fair which takes place at Olympia November 1-6.

Our eye has particularly been taken by the work of Zhao Kailin (above) and Zeng Chuanxing (below). These super-realist works enjoy a remarkable clarity of vision and superb technical ability in the depiction of detail. 

A master of the contemporary realist oil painting movement, Zhao Kailin studied the form at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1991. Drawing from the Western tradition of portraiture and composition as well as Chinese culture, he narrates the direct gaze of his seated subjects, usually female, with a quiet aesthetic that speaks of inner beauty. Zhao was born in 1961 in Anhui, China. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. 


Zeng Chuanxing Paper Bride in Waiting oil on canvas 110×140 cm


Zeng Chuanxing White Paper Bride oil on canvas 50×60 cm

Zheng Chuanxing was born in 1974 and in 1999 graduated from Oil Painting Department of Fine Arts College of Central Nationalities University, Beijing (BA)

Zeng Chuanxing was born in Longchang County, Sichuan Province. His realist paintings depict young, beautiful minority girls and women and reflect both a return to classicism and a subtle, yet poignant commentary on the effects of the Cultural Revolution and the influence of Western society on modern day China. While the majority of his artist contemporaries have explored and implemented more contemporary modes of expression, Zeng favors a more classical tradition of painting for its unique ability to not only clearly express his own feelings, but, almost more importantly, for its ability to serve as a window to understanding other people’s feelings, thoughts and emotions.


Artist Zeng Fanzhi is returning to his Chinese roots


Zeng Fanzhi is one of China’s most celebrated artists with his tribute to Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper selling for $23.3 million in 2013. Zeng’s works are famous for combining western and oriental influences, yet in an interview with the New York Times the artist spoke of returning to his roots and embracing Chinese culture. He stated that, “over time, I began to realize that traditional things have their own beauty.”

This change of perception comes as he is having a major retrospective exhibition in China, according to ABC News. Speaking to the news site Zeng spoke how he incorporates Chinese culture into his painting technique by using two brushes like the “Chinese master chopsticks”. He goes on to say how he uses one brush to paint and the other to destroy.  His latest work is titled This Land so Rich in Beauty, a line of poetry from former Chinese leader Chairman Mao. His latest work is a statement on China’s propaganda art and a move away from the western styles that influenced his earlier work.


Fanzhi is now commenting on old propaganda art of the Mao era

Zeng Fanzhi’s combination of western and eastern styles is nothing new in culture. Combining two different philosophies has inspired many genres including literature, film, and games. Hollywood in particular has started catering its films more to Chinese audiences. One famous example of this was the hit film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon directed by Oscar winning director Ang Lee. The film was made in collaboration between American and Chinese productions companies. Speaking to Variety, one of the screenwriters on the film James Schamus spoke how he would write several drafts and pass them to his Chinese counterparts, and that this level of collaboration continued throughout the film. The resulting film was a huge success.

This incorporation of different styles is also used in more unusual mediums such as in videogames and comics. In a recent interview, character designer and artist Tyler Davis stated that he borrows from “an amalgamation of styles I’ve been exposed to over the years” when designing new games. Just like Zeng Fanzhi found, combining different styles has a positive effect on audiences and can takes art to another level of interest regardless of what industry or movement artists find themselves in.

Zeng Fanzhi was born in Wuhan in 1964 and grew up through the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong, an event that inspired many of his future works. Zeng has lived and worked in Beijing since 1993 and became one of the China’s most well known and respected artists. During his time at art school, the work of German expressionist painters inspired Zeng and he became famous for his paintings with large heads and hands.

Zeng’s move back to Chinese influences can be seen as a reflection of how the world views Chinese art and artists. The South China Morning Post reports that China and its art scene is maturing. Zeng’s retrospective is being held in Beijing’s Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA) this October.


Marchants to show Kangxi blue & white with copper red

Marchant’s of Kensington Church Street, London, have announced a new exhibition to coincide with Asian Art in London and which opens in a few days time. The selling exhibition will contain 34 pieces of outstanding porcelain carefully selected and is entitled Kangxi Blue and White and Underglaze Copper-Red.


No.7 A Chinese imperial porcelain blue and white and underglaze copper-red deep bowl, wan, with upright sides, painted in the well of the interior with a carp leaping from crested waves beneath the sun, amongst three lotus flowerheads and a prunus flowerhead, encircled by a wide band of two carp, crab, prawn, shells, arrow heads and aquatic plants on a stylised wave ground, beneath a further blue-ground crested wave band with copper-red prunus flowerheads at the rim, the exterior with three further carp and a mandarin fish on a wave ground amongst lotus and prunus flowerheads.

7.80 inches, 19.8 cm diameter.

The base with a six-character mark of Kangxi within a double ring in underglaze blue and of the period, 1662-1722.

Wood stand

  • Formerly in the O’Byrne Collection.
  • Exhibited at The Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition, The Animals in Chinese Art, 1968, no. 507.
  • Formerly in the Sachot Collection, France.

Emperor Kangxi reigned from 1662–‐1722, the longest reign in Chinese history. It was a prosperous time for the nation in economics and trade as well as in the arts; it was a great period for production of high quality porcelain


No.2 A Chinese porcelain blue and white and underglaze copper-red basin, painted on the interior with a large praying mantis on rockwork, beneath branches of prunus with a butterfly in flight above large leaves painted with a light blue wash, bamboo and daisy all encircled within a double ring, the cavetto painted with flowering chrysanthemum and peony beneath prunus branches on the flat everted rim, the underside supported by a wide foot rim. 14 1Ž4 inches, 36.2 cm diameter.

Early Kangxi, circa 1670-1673.

  • Purchased from Marchant, London, 28th May 1985.
  • Sold by Christie’s, New York, in their auction, An Era of Inspiration, 17th Century Chinese Porcelains from the Collection of Julia and John Curtis, 16th March 2015, lot. 3580.
  • A similar basin in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art at the British Museum, with figural decoration and an inscription on the base ‘made in the Xinhai year of the Kangxi reign (1671) for the Hall of Chinese Concord’ is illustrated by Rosemary Scott in Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration: Four Dynasties of Jingdezhen Porcelain, 1992, no. 110, p. 105, collection no. PDF 653.

 The exhibition comprises of 34 Kangxi pieces in a variety of forms, including eight ‘mark and period’ ones, many with copper red details. Although none of the exhibits are cyclically dated, the exhibition has been arranged in chronological order so far as is possible utilising comparisons with similar items in important collections like the Percival David Collection..


No. 17 Chinese porcelain blue and white vase of baluster form, ping, with cylindrical ribbed neck and gently flared rim, painted with a continuous mountain river landscape scene, with two scholars and their attendant carrying a wrapped qin, while crossing a rockwork bridge leading to a house at the river’s edge, all amongst pine trees and wuti, with banks of low clouds and mountain peaks beneath the moon, the neck rib divided by bands of ruyi-heads, scrolls, key-fret and jewels.

17 5/8 inches, 44.8 cm high.

Kangxi, circa 1690.

Wood stand.

  • From a private American collection, San Francisco.
  • Formerly in the Roy Davids Collection, no. 123.
  • Included by Michel Beurdeley and Guy Raindre in, Qing Porcelain, 1986, no. 53, full colour page p. 49

Early style and technique can be identified by bold freehand painting, as seen  with an Imperial fish bowl which comes with impeccable provenance of the O’Byrne collection and Sachot Collection and which was exhibited in an Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition. 

The exhibition will be held at Marchant’s well known gallery at 120 Kensington Church Street from the 2nd-8th of November. A catalogue will be available priced at £100. It will also be online at www.marchantasianart.com





Chinese art auction house to launch new initiative in London

exclusive sloping to top  from Paul Harris in London


Paul Harris with Haiying Yu at Duton’s Westminster offices Photo Sun Yumei

A successful auction house based in Tianjin, China is to launch a radical new intitiative in London early next month. Duton’s, an established specialist auctioneer of Chinese paintngs since 1999 and which has already established an office in Westminster, London, will mount a curated exhibition of around 100 selected pieces of Chinese art from November 3-6 at The Grosvenor House Marriott Hotel on Park Lane.


One of the prize exhibits in Duton’s exhibition: Lotus & Egrets Kangxi Baluster jar, provenance Eskenazi Ltd (2014)

APPRECIATION OF CHINA will feature around 100 pieces of quality Chinese art – mainly Ming and Qing porcelain but also including ivory, rhino horn and Tang pottery – will be on display. The exhibition is curated by Dutons UK-based general manager Haiying Yu, an established dealer in Chinese art in the UK ho has given up her own business to join Duton’s. Speaking yesteday she explained. ‘We want to make a new bridge between collector and dealer. The auction business at the moment is awkward with problems in finding new works to sell and with so many fakes. For gallery owners, the business is rather flat. We want to build a new stage to present works to serious collectors.


Chairman of Duton’s, Mr Geng Du, with a Kangxi piece which will be exhibited next month October 3-6 at The Marriott Grosvenor House  Photo Paul Harris

‘We aim to do this by mounting a series of exhibitions showing pieces we have thoroughly researched. They are drawn from important collections worldwide. In  many instances, the owners will be prepared to sell the works on display. This will represent a new way for collectors to trade their works with other collectors, or with dealers.’

The exhibition will open on November 3 and there will be a champagne reception on November 4. Michael Leung, Hong Kong collector and formerly Chairman of Sotheby’s China Institute, will give a lecture on ‘How to Collect Chinese Porcelain’. There will be a catalogue available as either in electronic form or hard copy as a published book.

Says Haiying Yu, ‘In some ways we are going back to the mounting of private exhibitions as practised earlier in the 20th century during the 1920s and ’30s. We expect this will be the first of many international exhibitions to be mounted by Duton’s.’


Sun Yumei of Chinese Art in Scotland with Duton’s Chairman Mr Geng Du last week at the company’s Westminster offices

All systems go for Asian Art in London!


It’s all systems go as the Asian art world gears up for this year’s 19th Asian Art In London. The now well-established event brings together over sixty of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums for a ten-day celebration of the finest Asian art. Visitors will converge on London for this prestigious international event offering gallery selling exhibitions, auctions, receptions, lectures and seminars.

To celebrate the nineteenth year of Asian Art in London, a champagne reception will be held at the China Exchange in London’s Soho. Partnered by Laurent Perrier Champagne and Mosimann’s London.There the participants of Asian Art in London, directors and curators from museums worldwide, academic specialists, visitors and collectors will rub shoulders in a convivial manner: at previous events, the champagne has been free flowing and the ticket price of £40 did not seem excessive at all. Any energetic drinker should be able to effortlessly recoup the ticket price . . .

The range of events seems to us to be even more diverse than usual with a wide geographical spread in terms of origin. You can download the programme at www.asianartinlondon.com or you can the (new) free app at the same address. We still prefer to use the hard copy brochure, inside pocket or handbag size, which is much thicker than last year’s. It is interesting to note that there is considerably more advertising: sign of a market resurgence or simply better advertising agents?

With such a panoply of events, it seems invidious to pick out just one or two but there a few which we aim to patronise for their preomising Chinese content:

Exhibition at Sotheby’s New Bond Street China without Dragons: Rare Pieces from Orental Ceramic Society Members, open daily November 3-9.

Launch of the fascinating-sounding Bringing Heaven to Earth: Silver Jewellery & Ornament in the Late Qing Dynasty by Elizabeth Herridge at The London Library on November 4 (http://Elizabeth-Herridge.com)

Panel discussion/new catalogue and reception for Chinese & Japanese Works of Art in The Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace on November 10. Heavy booking for this one expected! learning@royalcollection.org.uk


Exciting work by Wang Keping to go on show in London

Regular readers of this site (yes, there are regular readers – more than a quarter of a million of you!) may recall our review of Sylvia Vetta’s documentary-style novel about the Star Group which shook the Chinese art scene to its foundations in 1979. http://chineseart.co.uk/book-review/published-today-an-atmospheric-novel-of-the-days-of-mao-and-the-star-group-of-artists/. Arguably the most important member of this group was sculptor Wang Keping and we were excited to see that Michael Goedhuis will be displaying one of his truly outstanding works in London October 5-9. 

Wang Keping was born in Beijing, China in 1949. In 1979 he co-founded The Stars (Xing Xing), an experimental artists’ collective that was born out of the atmosphere of open political activism during the “Beijing Spring.” He moved to Paris in 1984 where he began to explore the human form with a natural intuition of space and balance.

A self-taught artist, Wang Keping is known for his rounded, stylized wood sculptures, most of which are abstractions of the female body. After carving the figures out of single blocks of beech, ash, wild cherry, maple or oak, he lightly burns and then polishes the surface of each one to produce a smooth, lustrous effect. Wang Keping has exhibited widely throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, and his work has been collected by many notable institutions such as the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University.

Specialist Chinese dealer and enthusiast Michael Goedhuis has told us about his relationship with Keping, ‘Wang Keping and I became friends in the 1990s when I visited his studio in Paris. I had been aware of his significance for the avant-garde movement in China since the 1980s, and his role in co-founding The Stars (Xing Xing) group in 1979, during the time of the Beijing ‘Spring’.

‘We believe that he is the most important sculptor of Chinese origin working in the world today, not just for his critical contribution to the evolution of the Chinese avant-garde, but also for his creativity as an international sculptor. ‘Most of his work, as in Standing (2005), the sculpture illustrated, deals with the poignancy of the blend of vulnerability and resilience embodied in the female form. His love of the different personalities of different woods is a dominant feature of his work, and the carving of different trees – beech, ash, wild cherry, maple and oak – transmits nuances of interpretation. This particular work is of great beauty because of its sculptural form and also its luminous patination, which derives from his treatment of the surface of the wood.


‘Wang Keping has attracted a substantial international following and has been acquired by numerous museums throughout the world. I introduced him to Burghley House, the great Elizabethan stately home of the Marquess of Exeter in Stanford in the 1990s, where he carved three enormous sculptures from fully grown trees in the sculpture park. It was a bitterly cold January, and he orchestrated the sculptures from the ground through instructing the woodman who was using an electric saw to scythe through the branches and the trunk in order to create the sculptural figures. ‘

You can see the sculpture Standing on display at PAD London in Berkeley Square between October 5 and 9.