In 1953 he buys a piece of land near Sao Paulo to install his Garden of the Eight Virtues. He is exhausted by this task and his eyesight drops. In his landscape paintings the outlines of the mountains become thick and hard.
Zhang is not only the best connoisseur of two thousand years of Chinese graphic art. He is also a researcher of new styles. On May 29 in Hong Kong, Christie's sells Viewing the waterfall, hanging scroll 134 x 68 cm in ink and colors, lot 1379 estimated HK $ 60M.
The very steep mountain looks like the Rio Sugarloaf but it may be just a coincidence. By another chance it is also close to the Maoist mountains by Li Keran. It is in fact deeply rooted in the Chinese tradition.
It is dated by the artist in Chinese, twelfth month of the guimao year corresponding to 1963 CE. This landscape could be universal but its summit houses are a typical ancient temple. At the bottom two travelers are confronted with the immensity of nature, one of the most traditional themes in Chinese landscape.
This artwork is one of the earliest examples of the mixing of two techniques that Zhang will practice with great success for twenty years. The waterfall, the characters, the temples are drawn with sharpness. Surfaces that are not used in the narration are diluted in large splashes of blue and green.
There is no doubt that this technique unprecedented in modern art is a reference to the Mogu washes beloved by the Tang. It is perhaps also useful for sparing the weakened eyesight of the artist.
SOLD for HK$ 64M including premium