Yet two years later the denunciation of outdated old customs is implacable : the Cultural Revolution does not spare Li Keran. Released after six years, he may resume his brushes provided he complies with the requirements of official art, including monumental paintings of high places of Maoism for official buildings and for diplomatic gifts.
In 1974 Li Keran painted a view of Mao's birthplace, a farmhouse in the Hunan hills where the Red Guards practiced pilgrimages far away from cities and conflicts to immerse themselves within the thought of the Great Helmsman long before the current craze for red tourism.
The farmhouse is shown in a photographic realism. The composition of the landscape in full format is decidedly modern but small groups with various occupations meet the tradition of Chinese handscroll imaging. Nearly one hundred characters in green uniform constitute these groups, approaching or moving away, sitting on the ground around a teacher or posing for a photo. Red flags are everywhere. As if the poem was not enough to applaud the modern mood of the regime, two electric pylons are standing in the distant countryside.
This ink and colors 142 x 243 cm was sold for RMB 124M including premium by China Guardian on May 12, 2012. It is now for sale by Poly in Beijing on December 17, lot 2661.
SOLD for RMB 155M before fees