Lot Details

Image Size: 15¾ x 19¾ in.
Sheet Size: 21 x 24 in.

Zhang Xiaogang was born in a province capital in Southwestern China, and was 8 years old at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. During this dangerous and turbulent time, the artist’s mother insisted he learn to draw in order to keep him inside as much as possible. Far from the original intention of hiding him from the world, this practice led Zhang Xiaogang to become indisputably one of the most recognizable and significant Contemporary Chinese artist today, and he has enjoyed this status since the earliest days of the international art market in China.

Zhang’s works have been among the continually high-performers on the secondary market.

Zhang Xiaogang is best known for these somber and unsmiling, yet somehow soft, portraits of family and friends. The apparent similarities in all the portraits (or what may be considered as a kind of on-going self-portrait) express the homogeneity and collectivity Zhang saw as hallmarks of this time in Chinese history. However, false colors and often small incongruous elements belie the consistent, smooth simplified features of bland, retouched, official studio portraits seen in the days before the Cultural Revolution, giving us just a glimpse of the individual behind the image. With the widespread disappearance of the “family portrait” during the Cultural Revolution, these painted portraits become steeped in an air of memory, nostalgia and loss.

According to Sotheby’s, “…these hallmark images have become nothing less than visual shorthand for the entire category known as ‘Chinese contemporary art’."

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  • Pickup Location: Pennsylvania, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 21.4 x 24 in. (54.36 x 60.96 cm.)

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