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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 170 

Lot 170

Lot 170
Treasury 4, no. 564 (‘Traveller in Summer Mountains’)
HK$65,000

Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a slightly concave lip and a recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted with a continuous scene of a scholar on a donkey, followed by an attendant on foot, approaching a plank bridge across a small stream, on their way to a small group of houses in a mountainous landscape with various trees, including what appears to be a willow, inscribed in regular script, ‘Executed by Bai Langchen,’ with one seal of the artist, Bai, in negative seal script
Bai Langchen, Beijing, 1894–1940
Height: 6.39 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.52 cm
Stopper: glass

Provenance:
Christie’s, London, 5 December 1994, lot 403

Published:
Treasury 4, no. 564

Exhibited:
Christie's, London, 1999

We have assumed the season to be summer here because of the lush vegetation.
Close inspection reveals that Bai has added pale washes of grey ink to indicate the foliage in much the same way that Zhou Leyuan added washes of pale green or blue to his willow branches to indicate the foliage. T

The mounted scholar’s servant has managed to be discrete to the point of practically disappearing completely. Indeed, without a magnifying glass, the upper area of his red coat could easily be mistaken for a dab of vermilion foliage to match that on the tree the scholar is approaching across the bridge. Only his shoulders and head are shown, and those in so restrained a manner that one would be forgiven for missing him entirely.

The landscape is one of Bai’s finest and, recognizing his shortcomings with the brush, he wisely restricted his brushwork to an integrated, rustic style that depends little upon the strength of individual, calligraphic lines as used by Ding Erzhong, for instance. The composition is well put together and provides an effective idealized setting for the mounted scholar. The impressionistic style also suits Bai’s talents ideally. The far range of mountain peaks is particularly well painted and very effective.

All of his undated works simply say Bai Langchen zuo (Executed by Bai Langchen), with the exception of a 1930 bottle formerly in the Marian Mayer Collection that says Bai Langchen ouzuo (Executed by chance by Bai Langchen). Otherwise, his dated bottles give only the barest information as to the year and, sometimes, the month of painting. Nowhere in his output does he mention where he painted, although we know that he lived in Beijing. When interviewed in early 1974 by Hugh Moss, Ye Bengqi remembered Bai Langchen from his youth and confirmed that he was a Beijing artist. Other than that, he was unforthcoming on his career and appears to have had only a passing acquaintance with him.

 

This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s

 

Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1474&exhibition=11&ee_lang=eng


  
  

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