Zhou Chunya - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Phillips

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    Photo of Zhou Chunya with his dog Hagen, 1995


    In 1994, Zhou Chunya began raising a purebred German Shepherd dog - Hagen. Following this, images of dogs started to appear in different forms in works across each stage of Zhou Chunya’s creative career. At first, Hagen appeared as a representation of his role in Zhou’s family, interacting with the characters in the picture from time to time and constructing a narrative scene.  In 1997, Zhou Chunya suddenly decided to turn Hagen’s fur green and this was the point when the ‘green dog’ became a key recurring motif in Zhou's paintings. At first, the brush strokes used to paint the green dog were subtle and subdued.  The paint was light in colour and thinly applied, evoking ink painting techniques. When Hagen died in 1999, Zhou went through a period of considerable grief and stopped painting the green dog. The green dog did not return to Zhou’s paintings again until 2001, but it had changed dramatically from the subdued incarnations of the past. Created in 2007, Green Dog Series: Titi 2 presents the dog with sharp brushstrokes outlining its raised hackles. The dog’s shape, fur and eyes became more clearly articulated with contrasting and intense colours. The green dog transformed from a docile pet into a well-known characteristic symbol with a sharp personality perfectly reflects the ‘avant-garde aesthetics’ of industrial civilisation.



    A picture containing text, bookDescription automatically generated
    Andy Warhol, Cow, 1966
    Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
    © 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York  


    Titi was the pet dog of Tu Hongtao, who was a neighbor of Zhou Chunya in Chengdu’s Blue Art District. He started appearing in Zhou Chunya’s works starting in 2006. After Hagen’s death, Zhou Chunya said the green dog not only represented Hagen, but it also represents a Doberman, a Spaniel raised by friends and neighbors. Most importantly, it represented any German Shepherd. Zhou pulled away from the emotions of a lived experience and transformed them into pure artistic exploration, experimenting with tone, structure, color composition, and more.

    "Colour is not a decoration placed or painted onto objects. Colour itself wields a mysterious power. It rushes and flows onto the canvas. The colour is alive. It stimulates and enhances your imaginations and paintings!" — Zhou Chunya

    For Zhou Chunya, the colour green is quiet, romantic and lyrical. Additionally, it artistically represents the concept of a ‘calm before the storm’. In Green Dog Series: Titi 2, the richly painted green body takes up a large area on the canvas. The bright brown limbs and ears, vivid red tongue hanging between the teeth and jaws are enough to provide visual stimulation only in terms of the sharp colour contrast. The sharply defined hair with clear vertical brushstrokes and sharp eyes gazing directly ahead give the green dog its explosive power, strength and impact. This is Zhou Chunya’s attempt to create an atmosphere of hidden violence with a bold and adventurous painting style, so that viewers can’t help but be ignited by surging emotions that ultimately lead to a harmonious resonance.



    A painting of a horseDescription automatically generated with low confidence
    Franz Marc, Blue Horse I , 1911
    Collection of Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich
    • Provenance

      ChinaToday Gallery, Brussels
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      ChinaToday Gallery, ed., Zhou Chunya: Paintings and Sculptures, Brussels, 2007, p. 37 (illustrated)


Green Dog Series: Titi No.2

signed and dated '2007 Zhou Chunya [in Chinese and Pinyin]' lower right
oil on canvas
150 x 199.5 cm. (59 x 78 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2007, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and issued by ChinaToday Gallery.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,800,000 - 2,600,000 

Sold for HK$2,268,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021