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September 21, 2019

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‘Milky Way’ a star attraction at Christie’s

CHRISTIE’S 2019 Shanghai autumn auction kicks off today at the Peninsula Hotel, where an array of high-profile artworks, created by internationally acclaimed and emerging artists, will go under hammer.

The spotlight of the auction is on the “Milky Way,” a large scaled oil painting created by Zao Wou-ki, one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists.

It is a unique subject in Zao’s oeuvre. In his masterpiece, he draws inspiration from the ancient Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) “Star Map” and transforms the Chinese characters by depicting a vast flow of stars across the sky of the Milky Way, linking the ever-evolving civilization of mankind’s past to its future.

Western avant-garde artist Alex Katz’s “Jennifer and Mathieu” is also a highlight in the post-war and contemporary evening sale. It is the first work ever presented at an auction on China’s mainland by the 92-year-old figurative artist.

Rendered in a luminous palette of bold red, dark colors and flesh tones, the painting displays the artist’s recognizable mature style, which had been developing since the early 1960s. The moment of intimacy between Jennifer and Mathieu evokes an emotion associated with romance. The artist’s employment of cropping and the close-up views of people makes links with advertising, comic strips and movies.

“Le profil du temps,” featuring the iconic and instantly recognizable subject of Salvador Dali’s “Melting Clock,” will also appear at the auction. The sculpture, which is over 3 meters high, is the manifestation of the artist’s investigation into a world beyond understanding, the subconscious realm of dreams.

The work speaks to Dali’s philosophical question about the nature of time and its interplay with mankind. Drawing inspiration from Einstein’s theory of relativity, Dali sought to parallel the scientist’s discovery, which overturned the concept of a cosmic order through his work which generates a new way of seeing, or an insight to a deeper state of mind.


Shanghai Preview: September 21

Shanghai Auction: September 21,

3:30pm, “Shanghai: Living with art”

6pm, “20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sales”

Venue: The Peninsular Hotel

Address: 32 Zhongshan Rd E1


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