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A Man with a Straw Hat

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28

Property of an Important European Collector

A Man with a Straw Hat

2004
signed and dated 'Zeng Fanzhi [Chinese and Pinyin] 2004' lower right
oil on canvas
239.9 x 162 cm (94 1/2 x 63 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2004.

Estimate
HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000 
€602,000-843,000
$641,000-897,000

sold for HK$5,120,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

  • Provenance

    ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004

  • Exhibited

    Hong Kong, Hanart TZ Gallery, Recent Works by Zeng Fanzhi, 30 March - 16 April 2005, pp. 24-25, 61 (illustrated)
    Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Zeng Fanzhi: Idealism, 30 April - 3 June 2007, p. 181 (illustrated)
    London, Gagosian Gallery, Zeng Fanzhi, 17 November 2012 - 19 January 2013, p. 32 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Zeng Fanzhi’s position as the famed ‘Mask Artist’ shifted at the turn of the millennium, when the artist began a new form of artistry. Developing another mode of ‘masking’ his figures, Zeng explored the act of concealment with his radical luanbi method in the early 2000s. With the use of palette knives, Zeng’s electric luanbi method is achieved by scraping away paint and dragging impasto in expressionistic gestures, guided by raw emotion. The outcome of this technique is a body of rich, dense pieces usually depicting unbridled nature and sprawling landscapes.

    The central figure in A Man with a Straw Hat is an adaptation of a well-known photograph of Chairman Mao, taken by Hou Bo, one of the most well-known photographers of Mao Zedong. This piece features the rare depiction of Mao, a figure whom only sporadically appears in Zeng’s oeuvre. This bold allusion to and evocation of The Chairman is in great contrast to the artist’s other works, where specific figures are rarely rendered outright, but instead are merely hinted at through subtle symbols such as red kerchiefs of Mao jackets. Extending the artist’s exploration of the remnant imageries and collective experiences from the Cultural Revolution, A Man with a Straw Hat is a continuation of Zeng’s investigation into his Chinese heritage and childhood.

    The present lot’s scale immediately evokes Mao’s immense influence and almost god-like status. Obscured by a dense wall of grass, as well as elusively referred to as the titular A Man in a Straw Hat, Mao is both concealed but also immediately recognisable. This interplay highlights the paradox in The Chairman’s ubiquity in China, but also the distance between the figure and present day. The crops in the original image are replaced by jagged branches typical of Zeng’s luanbi scenes, injecting the work with a sense of the unknown, decontextualising the work.

    That such a recognisable image of Mao is used here is bold, but that it also quietly references any number of Self-Portrait[s] in a Straw Hat painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1887 is a testament to Zeng’s wide range of stimuli—an important influence which the artist himself has acknowledged. Speaking in an interview in 2015, the artist stated that “Van Gogh saw colours rather than three-dimensional objects”, a manner of painting that no doubt lends itself to the vibrancy and visceral energy in A Man with a Straw Hat (Zeng in an interview with Phong Bui, in ‘In Conversation: Zeng Fanzhi with Phong Bui', The Brooklyn Rail, 9 December 2015, reproduced online).

  • Catalogue Essay

    曾梵志的面具肖像繪畫為他在畫壇樹立了名聲,然而在2000年之際則出現了轉變,因為他開拓了一個嶄新的創作形式。自2000年初,他試圖以狂野的「亂筆」去隱藏他的畫中主體,用這作為另一種方式去為他的形體戴上「面具」。他以表現派的筆觸用畫刀將厚重的油彩刮散,拖曳出動感的亂筆技法,充滿了毫不掩飾的情感。其這一系列豐富而凝重的作品,描繪的往往是肆無忌憚蔓延著的自然風景。 《戴草帽的人》畫中人是從一張毛澤東相片所改編而來的形象,原照片則是由毛主席一位著名的專屬攝影師侯波所拍攝的。此幅畫出現了鮮少在他作品現身的毛主席身影,在曾梵志的作品中是相當罕見的。此處他大膽地暗示對毛主席的描繪,和其他作品中極少針對個人特質多做細節修飾的處理,形成了強烈的對比,因為他通常只是用一些隱晦的象徵來表現,例如像是毛主席風格的外套、加上紅色的領巾等符號。《戴草帽的人》延伸了曾梵志對於文化大革命殘留的影像及集體經驗所做出的追憶,也是他持續對於身為中國人以及自己童年的探索。 這幅作品偌大的尺寸,彷彿呼應了毛主席深厚的影響力及近乎化被神化的地位。雖然被一片厚厚的亂草所遮掩,又以《戴草帽的人》這樣一個模糊而間接的方式來命題,毛主席的形象似乎被刻意地隱藏起來,但同時卻又馬上能被人辨識出來。如此衝突的對比,似乎也陳述了毛澤東在中國無所不在的矛盾點,另外也呈現出這個歷史人物在時間軸上與現在當下之間所存在的巨大鴻溝。原始照片中前景的稻作,被曾梵志具代表性的亂筆手法所取代,變成了一片恣意叢生的雜草,藝術家藉此為作品營造出一個未知空間,在文本上也脫離了原本的相片的語境。 毛主席的形象在此固然是個顯明的借用,但曾梵志同時也向梵谷在1887年所繪一系列《戴草帽的自畫像》致敬。這也顯示了其創作靈感來源之廣泛,藝術家也曾經表示這對他的藝術創作相當重要。在2015年的一次訪問中,他提到:「梵谷見到的是色彩,而非物體的立體型態」,這樣的畫風也在《戴草帽的人》作品中充沛活力及深刻情感盡顯無遺(曾梵志,《曾梵志與裴峰的對談》,2015年12月9日,網上複製版)。

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中文

28

Property of an Important European Collector

A Man with a Straw Hat

2004
signed and dated 'Zeng Fanzhi [Chinese and Pinyin] 2004' lower right
oil on canvas
239.9 x 162 cm (94 1/2 x 63 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2004.

Estimate
HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000 
€602,000-843,000
$641,000-897,000

sold for HK$5,120,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2017

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