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Liu Dan

China (1953 )
LIU DAN Landscape

Sotheby's
Apr 2, 2019
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Along with Liu Dan, our clients also searched for the following authors:
Chen Zizhuang, Zhang Daqian, Zikai Feng, Liang Shiqiu, Yu Dafu, Chen Hengke, Chen Shaomei
Artworks in Arcadja
58

Some works of Liu Dan

Extracted between 58 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Liu Dan - Landscape

Liu Dan - Landscape

Original 1997
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 3011
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
LIU DAN, B. 1953 LANDSCAPE blue pencil on paper Executed in 1997. 18.3 by 10.6 cm, 7 1/8 by 4 1/8 in. Provenance Collection of Jana Volf. Catalogue Note This exquisite and extremely rare drawing of a landscape by Liu Dan was executed using a blue pencil given to him by the owner of the drawing. It belongs to a very small group of drawings by the artist, who used blue pencil for a very brief period. Liu Dan is known to have made small preparatory drawings for his major works, including Splendour of Heaven and Earth, exhibited in China Without Borders: An Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art, Sotheby's New York, 2001, pp. 72-73 (figs 1 and 2), and these drawings seldom appear on the market. He rarely produces pencil drawings without intending them as painting studies.This small and gentle yet striking landscape, brilliantly expressed with the finest lines and nuances of tones, stands out as a singular work for its own sake and not necessarily as a precursor of another work to come.
Liu Dan - Scholar’’s Rock - Grotto Heaven

Liu Dan - Scholar’’s Rock - Grotto Heaven

Original 2016
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 830
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Description:
LIU DAN (B. 1953) Scholar\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Rock - Grotto Heaven Scroll, mounted and framed Ink on paper 53 x 136 cm. (20 7/8 x 53 ½ in.) Executed in 2016 Scholar\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s rocks for Liu Dan are objects of mystery and uncertainty. Although it appears that Liu portrays a faithful representation of his subject matter, the scrupulous details he depicts are deceiving to the observer. The organic and strange features of a small piece of rock provide sources of imagination for the artist to journey through the world from a microscopic viewpoint, enabling him to create magnified and intricate compositions that echo grand landscape paintings where one can wander from within. Through Liu Dan's meticulous, precise painting one can observe a great paradox in the liberating power of self-discipline. Liu uses his mastery of traditional method and technique to free his paintings from the aesthetic constraints normally associated with Chinese ink paintings. He does this while remaining true to the tradition, with results that are spectacularly novel and contemporary. Liu Dan is keen to emphasise that his attainment of masterly skill through self-discipline is what provides him with the freedom to paint according to his heart and mind. In Grotto Heaven, his freedom is used to scrupulously render minute and almost photographic details of a scholar\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s rock. With an ultimate fascination in the structural properties of things around him, Liu Dan actively removes his subjects from their original context. By decontextualising his subject matter, he abandons the narrative and distils his paintings to become a pure visual experience. Liu\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s firm belief to not \“tell a story\” allows viewers to pay attention only to what appears in front of their eyes, that is, the aesthetic harmony born out of Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s mind, body, and paint brush.
Liu Dan - Poppy

Liu Dan - Poppy

Original 2002
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 514
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Liu Dan
POPPY
B.1953
signed, inscribed, and dated 2002 in Chinese, and marked with one seal of the artist ink on paper, framed 42.5 by 37.4 cm; 16¾ by 14¾ in.
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist Private American Collection
Catalogue Note
The Journey theme of this sale takes a cue from Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s early figurative works that are the foundation for his transition to his notable exquisite paintings of flowers, rocks and landscapes. Warring States Procession (Lot 544) is an unusually expressive and witty ink painting of processional musicians and fantastical beasts extrapolated from the art of the Warring States to Han dynasties. This painting comes from a small selection of known works shared namely with friends and family in the early 1980s period when Liu Dan moved from China to Hawaii. In the early 1990s, Liu Dan relocated to New York and in 1993 showed his monumental Ink Handscroll at the Gallery at Takashimaya in New York. At the same time, Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s travels and experiences abroad provided great opportunities for advancing his admiration for old master drawings and paintings from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. A Bouquet of Roses (1995) (Lot 574) is an earlier dated painting within Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s oeuvre of flowers, with several others exhibited at The Chinese Porcelain Company, New York, \‘A Celebration of Flowers: An Exhibition of Floral and Botanical Paintings, Watercolours and Ceramics\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’. In his striking portraits of flowers Liu Dan simultaneously depicts intense movement and great drama, as evident in Poppy (Lot 514) and Sunflower (Lot 515). While calligraphic inscriptions excerpted from Chinese classical texts accompany many of Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s works, Sunflower features an inscription of a letter from Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo. The sentiment connecting the Dutch painter and Chinese artist provides an exciting \“crossing-over\” effect for Liu Dan and adds an unusual dimension to the painting.1 The insertion of calligraphy in a painting is an elegant tradition that Liu Dan emulates in his paintings with his precise kaishu script. The content or faithfulness of the text is not the focus of his selections, but \“what interests me,\” he states, \“is whether the calligraphy fits into the grey tone of the painting and contributes to its overall visual balance.\”2 Small Ying Stone (Lot 516) is a monumental painting wherein Liu Dan balances the horizontal portrait of a stone with a vertical inscription. Liu Dan is an ardent admirer of scholar\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s rocks yet owns relatively few. The present lot is Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s first portrait study of a ying stone in his personal collection. While the present painting is by no means small in scale, its title refers to the original small ying rock, from the Gong Ji Xian collection, which actually fits into the palm of one\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s hand. The inscription features excerpts from the historic Suyuan Stone Catalogue compiled by Lin Youlin in the early 17th century during the Ming dynasty. Liu Dan selects passages describing the venerated characteristics of scholar\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s stones and attributing them to notable collections or past owners, thus providing a rich history for the present subject by association. As an intellectual painter, Liu Dan chooses to portray subjects that seem deceptively simple in form, yet upon further inspection, or realization of physical scale, one is awestruck by the levels and layers of detail that he reveals in his painting. He paints slowly and deliberately due to the details and delicacy that each work demands. His frequent return to the same subject is far from a monotonous repeated exercise, but is an exciting and ongoing conversation between the artist and his art, different each time. A close friend of Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s and scholar Ah Cheng describes Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s works as a contemplation of the mind and search for the universal ideal of the dao. \“The pursuit of brushwork perfection in Chinese traditional painting, in essence, can be understood as an open exploration of the connection between mind and dao. [Scholar\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s] rocks are considered the quintessential expression of these two concepts.\”3 Liu Dan\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s observations of things that may not be seen bring an element of uncertainty and surprise to viewing his paintings. His process is to explore the unknown and capture what is revealed to him; therein lies the originality of the artist. 1 Li Xiaoqian, \“Interview with Liu Dan,\” Liu Dan: Union of Mind and Dao, Suzhou Museum, China, 2013, p. 26-27 2 Ibid. 3 Ah Cheng, Liu Dan: Union of Mind and Dao, Suzhou Museum, China, 2013, p. 6-7
Liu Dan - Spirit Rock

Liu Dan - Spirit Rock

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 3020
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
LIU DAN (B. 1953)
Spirit Rock
Scroll, mounted and framed
Ink on paper
52 x 136 cm. (20 ½ x 53 ½ in.)
Lot Notes
\“One of the main paradoxes of Liu Dan's work is that the 'form of no-form' or wu xing is achieved not through the blurry and vague but through the precise and clear… The precise is not a means of capturing or affirming appearance but a means of disconcerting and destabilising appearance, even as it holds on to it.\”
Professor Ackbar Abbas
Liu Dan began to study Confucian classics and calligraphy at an early age with his grandfather, and later attended the Jiangsu Traditional Chinese Painting Institute where he studied under artist Ya Ming. He began to associate his art with classical Chinese painting only upon moving to the United States in 1981. It was in the US that he found unprecedented opportunities to learn from the museum collections of classical paintings there. His interest in classical civilisations and their artistic achievements however is not exclusively concerned with China; his research of great works of art is extensive, including both Chinese and Mediterranean classics, as well as Medieval and Renaissance Europe. This spectrum of influence has provided nutrients for his creativity and speaks loudly to the universality of his art; his work is intrinsically Chinese but it speaks to all viewers.
Through Liu Dan's meticulous, precise painting one can observe a great paradox in the liberating power of self-discipline. Liu Dan is a strikingly innovative painter who uses his mastery of traditional method and technique to free his paintings from the aesthetic constraints normally associated with Chinese ink paintings. He does this while remaining true to the tradition, with results that are spectacularly novel and contemporary. The artist is keen to emphasise that his attainment of masterly skill through self-discipline is what provides him with the freedom to paint according to his heart and mind. In Spirit Rock, his freedom is used to scrupulously render minute and almost photographic details of a scholar's rock.
Spirit Rock is a magnificent example not merely of Liu Dan's superb painterly skills in ink and brush but of how his journey and aspiration empowered him to pursue perfection in his art. Historically prized in traditional Chinese literati culture, scholar's rock has been an object of admiration and a vehicle for scholars to contemplate their aspirational values. For Liu Dan, rocks are \“a symbolic microcosm of the material world\” and his rock paintings are his attempts to transform a tangible object into an imaginary landscape for the heart of the viewer. His ability to \“turn images into indescribable illusions by manipulating their familiar features\” offers viewers a way to discover new perspectives through the fine details of common objects. Spirit Rock comes from the Guangdong city of Yingde and is one of the four most celebrated scholar's rocks. Its shape resembles the layering of clouds and it exudes the vigour of a beast. Through traversing the contours of the rock, one can see paradise from the holes and crevices. Spirit Rock has been portrayed by the artist in his various compositions. In the inscription of the painting, the artist speaks of how the rock came to his collection and praises the grotesqueness of the rock which can be appreciated from the front, the back, the left and the right.
The definition of great masters in art across time, cultures and media is the research and attainment of aesthetic perfection. This timeless quality, immediately recognisable by both connoisseurs and laymen alike, cannot be re-produced and can only be achieved through an artist\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s personal discovery. A true innovator, Liu Dan does not strive to support his work with mock novelty, contemporary themes or politics. Liu's description of his studies of Renaissance masters drawings is a very clear explanation of what the artist seeks in his artistic journey: \“My admiration for master drawings from the Medieval and Renaissance periods derives from the fact that the masters created these works in private. They endeavoured to render in art what in their imagination were the embodiments of the soul and will of God.\” His paintings are fundamental – they remind us that novelty, beauty, and perfection are personal and that our world offers them in abundance, but only if we are truly determined to seek them.
Liu Dan - Poppy

Liu Dan - Poppy

Original 2008
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 508
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Liu Dan
B. 1953
POPPY
signed LIU DAN, inscribed, dated 2008, and with one seal of the artist
ink on paper, framed
212 by 148 cm; 83 1/2 by 58 1/4 in.
2008
Exhibited
United Kingdom, London, Saatchi Gallery, Ink: The Art of China, 19 June - 5 July, 2012, p. 78
Literature
Kuo, Jason C., Chinese Ink Painting Now, Distributed Art Publishers, New York, USA; Timezone 8, Hong Kong, China, 2010, p. 72
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