Chinese Beauty By Zhang Daqian (1899-1983):
A woman is placing a flower in her hair, adding to her other adornments. Her features are delicately painted, accented with red lips. A branch with autumn leaves is hanging overhead. Calligraphy and artist's marks on left side.
Zhang was born in 1899 in Sichuan Province to a financially struggling but artistic family. His first commission came at age 12, when a traveling fortune-teller requested he paint her a new set of divining cards. At age 17 he was captured by bandits while returning home from boarding school in Chongqing. When the bandit chief ordered him to write a letter home demanding a ransom, he was so impressed by the boy's brushmanship that he made the boy his personal secretary. During the more than three months that he was held captive, he read books of poetry which the bandits had looted from raided homes.
As a young adult Chang moved to Kyoto to learn textile dyeing techniques. He later returned to Shanghai and established a successful career selling his paintings.
The governor of Qinghai, Ma Bufang, sent Zhang to Sku'bum to seek helpers for analyzing and copying Dunhuang's Buddhist art.
Due to the political climate of China in 1949, he left the country and resided in Mendoza, Argentina, São Paulo and Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, and then to Carmel, California, before settling in Taipei, Taiwan in 1978. During his years of wandering he had several wives simultaneously, curried favor with influential people, and maintained a large entourage of relatives and supporters. He also kept a pet gibbon. He affected the long robe and long beard of a scholar.
A meeting between Zhang and Picasso in Nice, France in 1956 was viewed as a summit between the preeminent masters of Eastern and Western art. The two men exchanged paintings at this meeting.
76 1/2 x 18 1/4"
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