Viewing of a Chu Teh-Chun painting
Short Course

Modernities in China: Paintings from 1911 to 1979

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Fees: HK$10,000.00


The fall of the imperial rule in 1911 heralded a new era of Chinese history, where domestic revolutions and foreign invasion brought tremendous societal change as well as a transformational period in Chinese painting.  Whether through adopting Western conventions or re-interpreting traditional styles, artists strove to introduce new directions to Chinese art and represent the modern era.  This new evening program at Christie’s Education will cover the rich and diverse repertoire created by Chinese artists of this period, whose works are treasured by institutions and collectors alike.

With the 1911 Xinhai revolution as a point of departure, the program explores Chinese art until 1979, when Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms and the Stars exhibition ushered in a new chapter of contemporary art in China.  Focusing on some of the most sought-after artists in the market, the course includes lectures given by renowned academics and curators.  The program also includes specialist-led market discussions and a handling session, and is essential to those who wish to collect and understand modern art in China.

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Course dates

Date & Time
5 April - 25 May 2017
Wednesdays / Thursdays, 6:30 - 7:45pm

5, 12, 19, 26 April; 10, 17 May
Christie’s, 22/F Alexandra House, Central, Hong Kong

25 May
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai


(Discounted rate of HK$9,000 if paid in full by 16 March 2017)

Session One | Wed 5 Apr | Nihonga and Xinguohua in China

Some of the first artists in the 20th century who sought to revolutionize Chinese art studied in Japan, such as brothers Gao Jianfu (1879-1951) and Gao Qifeng (1889-1993), and brought Nihonga – a synthesis of European and Asian traditions – to China.  This lecture starts with discussing their efforts to develop a new national painting style xinguohua, and follows on to Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) and other artists who inherited this legacy.

Session Two | Wed 12 Apr | Traditionalist Expressions

In exploring modernity, a number of artists looked into China’s rich painting tradition for inspiration, whilst pushing boundaries and experimenting with new forms.  This lecture will examine Qi Baishi (1864-1957) and his populist style, Huang Binhong (1865-1955) and his landscapes, as well as the maverick Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), with his comprehensive and wide-ranging repertoire.

Session Three | Wed 19 Apr | European Legacies

In the 1920s, artists such as Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), Liu Haisu (1896-1994), Sanyu (1901-1966), and Xu Beihong (1895-1953) studied in Europe, where they encountered Western academic painting, as well as the French avant-garde. Many of these artists returned to China and became important teachers, and this session looks at how such artists expressed their Western education in different ways.

Session Four | Wed 26 Apr | The Evolution of Realism

With the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, artists created politically-charged works to inspire and educate the masses.  This new style of painting is rooted in realism, which continues to prevail even as artists’ view of the government altered with the Cultural Revolution. This session will discuss artists including Jin Shangyi (b. 1934), Chen Yifei (b. 1943), Luo Zhongli (b. 1948), and Chen Danqing (b. 1953), and the evolution of the realist style.

(Wed 3 May | No Class)

Session Five | Wed 10 May | Post-war: Abstraction and Beyond

Eager to follow on their teacher Lin Fengmian’s footsteps, many artists – such as  Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013), Chu Teh-chun (1920-2014), and Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) – spent the years following World War II in Paris.  Chu and Zao settled in France and adopted abstraction in oils as their primary medium.  Wu returned to China after three years of study, continuing his experiments in abstraction with a focus on the traditional medium of ink.

Session Six | Wed 17 May | Markets Discussion and Handling Session

This class includes a discussion on the market for Modern Chinese Paintings, as well as handling session to better understand the materials and mediums of works of art.

Session Seven | Thu 25 May | Christie's Gallery Tour

Join Christie’s specialists on a tour of Christie’s Spring 2017 Auctions Preview.

Lecture schedule and topics are subject to change. Please check back for updates.

A letter of attendance will be issued to participants who attend all sessions. 

(Discounted rate of HK$9,000 if paid in full by 16 March 2017)


Roslyn Hammers
Associate Professor, Department of Fine Arts, The University of Hong Kong
Dr. Roslyn Hammers is an Associate Professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Hong Kong. She teaches courses on Chinese painting, South Asian art, and Asian architectural history. Dr. Hammers received her BA from University of Pittsburgh and is a MA and PhD graduate of the University of Michigan. She was an assistant professor of art history and visual culture studies at Whitman College, Washington state, before taking her position at University of Hong Kong. Dr. Hammers has published the book Pictures of Tilling and Weaving: Art, Labor and Technology in Song and Yuan China (Hong Hong University Press, 2011). She was a fellow at the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge University, U.K. as well as at the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C. Her interests include Song and Yuan dynasty artistic practices, the relationships between technological imagery and art, and the cross-cultural reception of art between Asia and non-Asia.

Catherine Maudsley
Art Historian, Curator and Advisor

Embarking on her academic studies in 1975, Catherine Maudsley holds a BA, MA and MPhil in the field of Asian fine arts and culture. The recipient of numerous awards, research fellowships and gold medals, Catherine was a Connaught Research Scholar at the University of Toronto, a Canada-China Exchange Scholar at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing and a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Hong Kong. 

As an independent fine arts professional, she provides art advisory, research and curatorial services to individuals and corporations on the development and management of fine arts collections. She is noted both for her expertise in Chinese painting and broad range of intellectual interests. For over 30 years, Catherine has also been active as a speaker, educator, and writer in Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China and Southeast Asia, addressing global forums and over 40 cultural and fine arts organizations and contributing to publications such as Arts of Asia, The Asian Art Newspaper and Orientations.

Sandy Ng
Assistant Professor of Culture & Theories, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Sandy Ng is Assistant Professor of Culture and Theory at The School of Design of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), specialising in modern Chinese art. Her doctoral research examines the notion of hybrid modernism in Lin Fengmian’s figurative paintings (1900-1991). She is currently working on projects that explore expression of femininity, selfhood and modernity in oil paintings and printed images in the twentieth century. Her research also scrutinizes how to revitalise traditional customs to inspire contemporary design. Two forthcoming publications will examine how artists embrace modernity and fashion the ‘self’ in the modern era and how national identity is tied to the design of cheongsam in Hong Kong. Presently, she teaches ‘Visual Culture’, ‘Design History’, ‘Philosophy of Design’, ‘Chinese Traditions & 21st Century’ and supervises master’s degree and PhD students in the postgraduate programme.

Frank Vigneron

Head & Professor, Graduate Division of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Professor Vigneron received a Ph.D. in Chinese Art History from the Paris VII University, a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Paris IV Sorbonne University and a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He joined the Department of Fine Arts, CUHK in 2004, teaching courses on the History of Western Art, the theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in art, and Chinese and Western comparative aesthetics. His research focus is on the history of Chinese painting from the 18th century onwards and on different aspects of contemporary Chinese art seen in a global context.

In 2010, he became Chair of the Hong Kong Art School Academic Committee as well as a member of the Hong Kong Art School Council. He is also a member of the International Association of Art Critics Hong Kong. Professor Vigneron is also a practicing artist. He has held several solo exhibitions in Hong Kong and has taken part in local and international exhibitions.

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