IT took 50 bids and half an hour to auction this RMB370m (£35m) scroll, by Qi Baishi (1864-1957) at Beijing's China Guardian on May 22 – the latest demonstration of the breadth of mainland demand for modern Chinese paintings by the country's most acclaimed artists.
Towering Pine and Cypress with its four-character
couplet in seal script was painted as a birthday present in 1946
for the former Chinese Nationalist party leader, Chiang Kai-Shek.
The general fled to Taiwan just a few years later after his defeat
by the Communist army.
Qi Baishi was a self-taught artist and son of a peasant. His
paintings routinely command premium sums at auctions
internationally. This is thought to be Qi's largest work at 8ft 8in
x 3ft 3in (2.66m x 1m).
The scroll was one of the highlights from Guardian's spring
auction series and is the second highest price for a work of art in
China after an 11th century scroll by Huang Tingjian at Beijing's
Poly International, which made a premium-inclusive RMB436.8m in
China Guardian's buyer's premium is 15%