The highlight of the September Asian sale will be a pair of watercolor paintings by Fu Baoshi, each depicting a scholar viewing a waterfall in a rocky landscape. Dated from the summer of 1945 and painted in Chengdu, China, the paintings were purchased 30 years ago by a private collector from the original owner of the paintings, who received them directly from the artist. They are still in the original wood frames under glass.
Fu Baoshi was born in Jiangxi Province, China in 1904 and trained at the School of Fine Arts in Tokyo, Japan before returning to China in 1935 to teach at the art department at Central University in Nanjing. The paintings are dated the summer of 1945, and were executed at Chengdu, China, the temporary capitol established by the Chinese Nationalist Party. Fu’s choice of subject matter for these two paintings could be interpreted as his expression of relief that the second Sino-Japanese war had ended; he depicts a scholar able to appreciate and contemplate the great beauty of the Chinese natural landscape during a brief moment of peace.
Fu Baoshi’s painting style evolved over the course of his life from a more traditional style of Chinese painting towards his own unique style that incorporated impressionistic brushstrokes and atmospheric washes. Fu has since become world renowned for both the detailed figurative and the sublime landscape details that these paintings exemplify. Still intact in their original wooden frames, the paintings were designed to fit inside them exactly, thus preserving an important piece of the history of Chinese painting.