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Zhang Xianming (Chinese, b.1970)
LOT ID: 66023
Lin Daiyu, 2012

Oil, on canvas
51.18 х 43.3 in. (130 x 109.98 cm.)
Signed, other, in Chinese and dated "2012.1" in oil paint on the back of the canvas. This painting is accompanied by a formal certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
Lot description
"Lin Daiyu" (2012) is a new, stunning oil portrait by rising star, Chinese Contemporary artist, Zhang Xiangming and belongs to his highly sought-after series of large-scale photorealist works. Zhang is one of most critically acclaimed and sought-after Chinese artists since arriving on the international scene in 2010, setting impressive and exciting new auction records this Fall 2011, far above pre-sale estimates.

"Lin Daiyu" is one of the most visually and thematically arresting works to date by Zhang and depicts a beautiful young woman, head turned down slightly, in a moment of tranquility and introspection. This portrait is in fact that of one of China's most beloved and tragic literary heroines, Lin Daiyu. She is a main character from one of "China's Four Great Classical Novels", titled "Dream of the Red Chamber", written in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. This novel is considered a masterpiece of Chinese literature and is generally acknowledged to be the finest known work of Chinese fiction ever written. In fact "Redology" is the formal field of study devoted exclusively to the ongoing critical analysis of book. The novel designates Lin Daiyu as one of the "Twelve Beauties of Jinling", and describes her as a beautiful, proud but ultimately tragic figure. Daiyu is also the reincarnation of a flower from the main narrative of the novel.

The main male protagonist is the aristocratic young heir of the family Baoyu, one of wealthiest families of the Qing Dynasty. He forms a special bond and falls in love his cousin Lin Daiyu. Baoyu however, has an arranged marriage with another female cousin, abandoning Lin Daiyu to her great emotional and physical distress. The romantic rivalry and friendship among the three characters forms the main story in the novel.

Zhang Xiangming's portrait of Lin attests to her modesty, frailty and grace, dressed in a simple black robe, her face delicately made up, while her black hair is traditionally pinned-up in swirls that frame her face, each fastened by a stunning ruby and amethyst gemstone, typical fashion for an aristocratic women from the Qing Dynasty. Her large, almond-shaped eyes rimmed with long black lashes are heavy-lidded and filled with a peaceful gaze. The painting is extraordinary amongst the artist's oeuvre as it typifies a new thematic and visual direction, depicting one of the most celebrated female figure from long China's literary and artistic cultural history.

Zhang Xiangming was born in Shandong, China in 1975. He graduated from the Shandong Normal University Art Department in 2003 and received his Master's Degree in oil painting at the Artistic Research Institute of China in 2007. The artist is exhibited world-wide with galleries in China, Europe, The U.K and the U.S. The artist's paintings are setting exciting auction records, world-wide selling for upwards of $43,000.00 USD Premium at auction, Fall 2011.
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