Zhong Cheng 2024 Spring Auction「Modern And Contemporary Art」

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    SHIY DEJINN (1923-1981)

    Portrait of Nora Sun


    Oil on Canvas
    95 x 65 cm

    Signed Shiy Dejinn in Chinese, dated 1960

    Estimate TWD 9,600,000-10,000,000
    USD 315,000-393,700
    HKD 0-0

    Hammer Price TWD 11,520,000
    USD 378,574
    HKD 3,047,619

Provenance:1. Previous collector purchased directly from the artist 2. Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Auction, Hong Kong, June 6th 2017, Lot 24 3. Private collection, Asia



Exposition:This work is a portrait of Sun Nora, the granddaughter of Sun Yat Sen, the father of the nation.

Shiy De-Jinn's contribution to the development of Taiwanese art is of immense significance. His artistic journey, spanning from neoclassical art to post-modernism, mirrors the broader trajectory of Taiwan's art scene during the post-war period.

As an artist, Shiy De-Jinn demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to the changing styles and trends of the art world. His earlier Neo-classical works were defined by form and symmetry, while his later Abstract period explored color and texture. In his Portrait period, he delved into human expressions and the human form, while in his Calligraphy Painting period, he merged traditional Chinese calligraphy with modern painting techniques. Finally, in his landscape period, he captured the natural beauty of Taiwan.Through his diverse body of work, Shiy De-Jinn not only chronicled his own artistic journey but also reflected the broader social and cultural changes in Taiwan. His art served as a bridge between Taiwan's traditional culture and its modern, globalized society. Shiy De-Jinn's artistic journey is a testament to the power of art to capture the essence of a time and place. His legacy continues to inspire and guide future generations of Taiwanese artists, reminding us that "history is us."


Shiy De-Jinn's exposure to painting began at a young age, and he developed a solid foundation in calligraphy and painting. During his early days, he drew inspiration from the works of the painter Pang Xunqin, who was studying in France at the time. Shiy De-Jin was also influenced by the Fauvism and Impressionism movements, and admired the works of artists such as Henri Matisse and Oscar-Claude Monet. In addition to his independent studies, Shiy De-Jinn also had the privilege of studying painting under Lin Fengmian, alongside other accomplished artists such as Zao Wou-ki, Chu Teh-Chun, and Wu Guanzhong. His talent and dedication earned him the distinction of being named "one of the five great disciples of Lin Fengmian."


In 1948, Shiy De-Jinn arrived in Taiwan and was immediately struck by the beauty of the land. He decided to stay and continue creating, leaving behind a remarkable career that spanned over 30 years. By the late 1950s, he had entered his portrait period, absorbing Western artistic concepts and integrating them into his own style, resulting in a body of work that stood out among contemporary portrait paintings. In 1956, his portrait The Goose Seller gained widespread popularity and was selected as a representative work of Taiwan for the 4th Biennale of Sao Paulo in Brazil.


During the 1960s, Shiy De-Jin reached the pinnacle of his portrait painting technique. From his use of color to his depiction of character traits, his attention to detail was unparalleled. He painted portraits of many prominent women in history, including Janet, the wife of a U.S. Army official stationed in Taiwan who even invited him to the United States to help her paint a portrait. He also created Portrait of Hua Yan, the female writer of "The Lamp of Wisdom," and various other individuals in the city. These portraits not only captured the tastes and cultures of Taiwan's upper class during the 1960s, but also demonstrated the artist's unique perspective on portraiture. Shiy De-Jin believed that a good portrait should be able to penetrate one's soul, capture one's personality, express one's habits, and reveal one's hidden and unconscious expressions.


The painting Portrait of Nora Sun, holds special historical significance as it portrays the granddaughter of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China and a leading figure in the modern Chinese democratic revolution. Ms. Nora Sun, settled in Hong Kong at the time, was drawn to Shiy De-Jin's reputation as a master portraitist and invited him to create this exquisite work. Shiy De-Jin's ability to capture Nora Sun's modern, feminine demeanor and aristocratic charm is a testament to his skill as an artist. The painting is a rare and unique example of Shiy's portraits, and the fact that it depicts the granddaughter of such a prominent figure in Chinese history adds to its historical and cultural significance. The painting's fresh and elegant brushstrokes make it all the more impressive, especially considering the subject's distinguished lineage.


Completed in 1960, this remarkable work marks a turning point in the evolution of character expression, as the ink lines outline the main body and spirit of the subject with unprecedented emphasis. Bridging the transition between modernism and postmodernism in the history of art, the portrait skillfully combines elements of art history to open up a new aesthetic realm. Ms. Nora Sun, the subject of the portrait, exudes a resolute female image, having achieved great success in politics and business through her own hard work and determination, rather than relying on her illustrious ancestry. Her remarkable life journey, from starting her career as a flight attendant in Taiwan's civil aviation company to obtaining a degree in the United States, and holding numerous prestigious diplomatic and business positions, including Commercial Counselor of the US Embassy in Paris, France, is deftly captured in this portrait by Shiy De-jin. Notably.


Upon studying the "Complete Works of Shiy De-Jin Memorial" published by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, art historians discovered that a significant portion of Shiy De-Jin's creative career consisted of "figure painting," which accounted for approximately one-third of his works. The medium he employed was primarily oil painting and sketches. While most of these works have been collected by museums, few of them have been circulated in the art market. In the 1960s, Shiy De-Jin incorporated the essence of European and American art, freely combining "Chinese style and Western application" in his portrait works. He employed thick lines that pierce through the paper, stretched thin lines, and rendered the skin soft and smooth, while retaining a sense of physical strength. Additionally, he utilized cool and warm colors to depict the turning and turning of the muscles, complemented by the three-dimensional and flat visual rhythm. In particular, Shiy De-Jin was adept at precisely deploying the facial features and expressions of his subjects, such that one standing before the painting could feel as though they were present at the time of the portrait's creation and experience its unique emotions. His classic portraits, such as "The Boy in Red" from 1962, all possess a distinctive story and emotions expressed in his works, which belong to Shiy's profound emotions, life, and aesthetic appreciation of cultural ecology. Through Shiy De-Jin's art, portraiture transcends its conventional boundaries and attains a higher level of significance. It is difficult to imagine another artist in the past, present, or future of Taiwanese art history who could match Shiy De-Jin's extraordinary talent.

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