Chinese artist Chang Dai-chien (also known as Zhang Daqian) may not have the kind of name recognition that Pablo Picasso enjoys, but in 2011 he ousted the Spaniard as the biggest auction earner in recent years. Chang’s works made $506.7 million in auction sales last year, according to Artprice, and two other Chinese artists were in the top five earners.
Here at the museum, we were excited to see Chang’s name in the news because one of his paintings, Clouded Mountain, will soon go on view in our China gallery.
As a preeminent painter of twentieth-century China, Chang integrated modern sensibilities into traditional Chinese painting. In 1956 he made his first pan-European tour, at which time his eyesight began to deteriorate. During this time, he unexpectedly developed his most innovative painting technique of splashed ink and color. Clouded Mountains exemplifies the splashed ink technique. The poem, inscribed by Chang, reads:
I was in the mood to paint in the middle of night
My wife and son were awakened from their dreams
Ink overturned and running out of control
Emerging from the summer clouds a celestial mountain
Chang’s painting will go on view on January 24.
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