Author: DING TIANQUE 丁天缺

Size: 85×64cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 1980


Final Price: RMB 1,200,000

2000 Ding TIanque - Art Works and Writings / P50 / Today China Publishing House
2005 Reflets Mivoites De Mes Anciens Reves / Hongkong Tianma Publishing Co.LTD
2010 Ding Tianque Paintings / Tang Yun Museum of Art
2018 Ding Tianque’s Life of Art - Dream of Lonely Hill / P190 / China Academy of Art Press
2019 Encounter bewteen Yi and Xiang, Group Exhibition of Ding Tianque, Zhuang Huayue, and Wu Cangshi / P17 / ICI LABAS Art House
signed in Chinese and dated 1980
2000 Ding Tianque Solo Exhibition, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou
2002 Ding Tianque Solo Exhibition, Galerie Cathay, Paris
2005 Here and There – Oil Paintings Exhibition of Ding Tianque and France Mitrofanoff, Chinese Culture Center, Paris
2006 Here and There – Oil Paintings Exhibition of Ding Tianque and France Mitrofanoff and Drannol, National Art Museum of China, Beijing
2010 Dint Tianque’s Painting, Tang Yun Museum of Art, Hangzhou
2011 Su Jia Art Museum, Wuxi
2018 Lonely Mountain in the Dream – In Memory of Ding Tianque, 798 Gallery ICI LABAS, Beijing
2019 Encounter bewteen Yi and Xiang, Group Exhibition of Ding Tianque, Zhuang Huayue, and Wu Cangshi, ICI LABAS Art House / Beijing

Like his teacher Wu Dayu, Ding Tianque is also a master of art obscured in the history of fine arts due to the complex historical factors. Although he was a classmate of Wu Guanzhong, Zhu Dequn and Zhao Wuji, his art didn’t get the deserved fair evaluation. In fact, Ding Tianque is an indispensable link in modern history of Chinese art in the 20th century. He is a cross-cultural communicator who first introduced Picasso’s art to China, and one of the first artists who experimented with the integration of Western abstract art and Chinese painting. According to Ding Tianque’s Autobiography: I am the Born Talent, he was admitted to National Art College in Hangzhou in 1935, studied under Wu Dayu, and then served as his teacher assistant. In all movements after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Ding Tianque was regarded as the leader of a “new school of painting”, and was expelled from school. In the 1950s, he was labeled as “anti-revolutionary” twice. Then he was reeducated through labor for more than ten years until getting rehabilitated in 1979. His art career was therefore delayed by his long labor education, but he did not abandon himeself. He translated Picasso in prison, which laid a theoretical foundation for his later works. In 1985, Ding Tianque went to Paris for further study, specializing in French modern art.
Ding Tianque’s art originated from the same school of Wu Dayu, namely various schools of French modern painting. As a pioneer of Chinese abstract painting, Wu Dayu combined concrete with abstract as well as the mysterious oriental charm to create a gorgeous visual language. In terms of artistic concepts and painting language, Ding Tianque undoubtedly is the inheritor of Wu Dayu. His art has an open composition, bright colors and rich formal elements. Unfortunately, Wu Dayu and his disciples’ paintings centered on color and form, not in line with the mainstream art style at that time, that is, the realistic painting advocated by Xu Beihong. Therefore, their paintings were unfortunately isolated and marginalized in the special historical and political environment. It is until recently that their paintings were discovered and re-recognized by the academia.
Although he is a key figure in the modern history of Chinese art, there are only a few dozen works of Ding Tianque which have been preserved. Encountering in Front of the Window I and Encountering in Front of the Window II were completed in 1980 and 1998 respectively, which are the best works of Ding Tianque at his later years. The tranquil time after the Great Cultural Revolution presented him a peak of artistic creation. The composition of these two paintings is basically similar, obviously influenced by post-impressionism and cubism in technique. The former is more realistic, while the latter tends to be more simple and abstract.
In Encountering in Front of the Window I, the painter carefully arranges the relationship between various objects. The composition is tight and full. The table placed horizontally and the window behind form a stable cross structure in the painting. The cat on the table may come in through the open window. It turns its body to eat fish but accidentally knocks over the vase. Several flowers fall from the vase, causing the dog on the ground to bark at them. The images are related to each other, presenting a dramatic moment, and the meaning of humor is close to the literati ink play in Chinese painting. Instead of using the traditional method, Ding Tianque pays attention to the volume sense of the object and the block effect of color. Windows, wall covering, utensils and animals are all decomposed into various geometric shapes. Rectangles, rhombuses and circles are interwoven with each other. Each of them is independent and has a high degree of structural harmony. Here, the painter absorbs Cezanne’s still life painting skills, uses clear contour lines and thick colors to show a steady and solid texture, and distinguishes the spatial levels with the relationship between warm and cold colors.
Encountering in Front of the Window II is more vivid in color, and has made certain adjustment and differentiation in details. At this time, the depiction of the cat completely abandoned the realism and only sketched the outline with lines instead, with a more reasonable position of the table legs, and newly added dripping state of the vase when overthrown. As for the composition, Encountering in Front of the Window II focuses on the expression of the tension and the consistency of time in motion, while the contrast between colors is more intense. The contrast and echo between yellow and blue, crimson and green, and black and white forms a rich and gorgeous visual effect. The use of geometry and color blocks in Encountering in Front of the Window II is reminiscent of Picasso’s Dream in 1932. There is no doubt that Ding Tianque draws on the decorative techniques of cubism in his creation, but what the painter wanted to present moreis the interest stemming from the ordinary life.