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IPB Artists can blossom in late life

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Author Topic: IPB Artists can blossom in late life  (Read 2131 times)
Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« on: June 29, 2011, 11:59:19 pm »

Hello  All (but  sadly,  still    just a  few  active  on this  Forum)

I am  in a  pensive mood...

If you  look  in CIPMA     for  Fu Guoshun and  Sun Honglin   you  will see  nothing special.  In fact, you   can even   find  Fu Guoshun  in  J.H. Leung's  " A  New  Look  of  Inside  Painted  Bottles" , because   Master  Fu  was  born in  1954  ( just  6  years  later than  me )  and  was  actively painting  in the   1980s, being   a   III   generation   pupil  of  Wang Xisan   from the  class  of  77-79 .  I  saw  some  of    Sun Honglin's  work  in a    HengShui  journal  about  5  years  ago and   passed  on it  completely : a  definite  "not for me"   reaction.  

But  both  artists, in the  past  5  years, have   suddenly blossomed late  in life, and   have created   completely new  styles  which are   -  without   exaggeration -   stunningly  beautiful .  It's  as  if  all their   former  training  and  years  of  turning out   rank-and-file bottles    have  suddenly   made the   technical   basis  for   their real   creativity   to  "come out"

The  first  time  I  ever  saw a  Fu Guoshun bottle   was  in   2009  at   a  studio-museum  in Hengshui ( not  Wang Xisan's) .   There  were  probably   over  2,000  bottles  on  display, by almost   every  modern  artist,  but  they  all  left me   totally  cold    except    2  bottles.  One  was   by  my  hero  Hu Xiao Ran  (  Xiao  Quan)  whose  inimitable  style  I recognized  at once, even though  it  was  an  early bottle  by him,  and which bottle  I   subsequently  bought  from the    studio.

The  other  bottle  was  something  totally  other-worldly , in a  style  I had  never  seen before

(Bear in mind that  my data  base  was  by  that  time  gaining traction, so  I  had  studied   almost  every  contemporary   artist  in   great detail  : there's nothing like   waiting  5  minutes  for a   3  MB  pic  to  down load   from Bill's  website,  or the   work  of  scanning/cropping/ titling a  pic   from a  book or  journal,   to  force  you  to look in  detail  at every  bottle pic.   If there's  any    criticism  of  my  DB  it's   surely  that  it  makes  it  TOO easy  for a  rookie   collector.  There's no gain without  pain)

Back to   THAT  bottle.....

I  remember  asking the  Museum -owner   who  painted  that  bottle .  He   mumbled  " Fu Guo Shun"  but the  name  meant  nothing to  me  so  I   switched  my   digital camera  to  audio and  kept  saying  " Gu Guo Shun / Fu Guo Shun/ ..." into the  mike  to make  sure  I  had  got the  name  correct.

Later,  I   went  back to  Fu Guo Shun in my  data  base  and  noticed  that he  had  started  to  develop new  styles, as  seen in the   2- part  ( orange / grey)   book  edited  by  Wang  Ziyong,  son of  Wang Xisan  in the  late   2000's . But  still  nothing like  what  I saw  in that  museum  in 2009.

To cut a long  story   short,  I  found a    contact  to the  Museum-studio  owner  via a  retired  HK  dealer, and  bought  both  the   Hu Xiao Ran  and the  Fu Guo Shun  bottles. The  prices  I paid  seemed   way over the  tops  at that time   when  anything  over  US$200  seemed   extravagent   to me  .  But  I felt  it  was  worth it,  especially for the   Fu Guo Shun bottle which  was  unique.  

Later, in 9.2009,  I    went to the  Asian  Collectors conference  and exhibition  at  Yantai , where  there  were  12  stands  dedicated  to  each of  the   12  current Grand  Masters  :  Wang  Xisan,  Zhang  Guang Qing, etc  ,  including   Fu Guoshun, and there  I  saw  THE  bottle  that   was  not  just best  of  breed, but  best  of  show  and  best in the   world : by  Fu Guoshun. That's the   bottle  I  painstakingly  hunted   down  in 2010  and  finally  persuaded   Fu Guoshun to  sell to me . And that's the  bottle  I use  as  my  icon  on this  forum :  " The  most  beautiful  bottle  ever  painted  in the   world"

Since  then   Fu Guoshun and I have  become  good  friends. I value  his  friendship  and I have  bought  many  more   of his  latest  bottles  at  premium   prices  because  I  feel  he  deserves  it , being close to   retirement .  

But I think that one  bottle  was  his   life-time   peak  of  skill and  beauty.  ( He   told me  he  spent a  year  on it, on and  off)  

Sun Honglin  has   also  blossomed   late  in life. You  can see  his latest   work  on Bill's  website, taken  from  Sun Honglin's   2009  catalogue  which I  scanned and  sent to Bill.  it  bears  no resemblance to  what  you  see in CIPMA.  It  was  also  at   Yantai  that  I  saw the  first  example  of    Sun Honglin's  new   style.  Simultaneously,  Michael  Ko , who  is   now the  curator  of  the  BJ  WXS  Museum, had  noticed   Sun Honglin and   had  started  buying his  best   works.  Michael  Ko  is   Taiwanese  but  lives  in  Beijing , where  he  is  married  to a beautiful  Beijing  lady,  and  he  has  a  lot of  money ( far more  than I have !) . So this  is a  friendly  mutual- admiration-of - Sun Honglin   society.  But the  point  is  that  we  both  independently   recognized  the  "coming  out"  of  Sun Honglin

At the   opening  of the  Wang Xisan  Museum  in BJ  in May this   year  there  were  many  fantastic  bottles on display, many   lent  by    renowned  collectors  just for the  initial  opening .   But   there  was  only ONE  bottle  that  I   really loved,  which  was  by  Sun Honglin , and I have  asked  him to paint  another  bottle   in the  same  style  for me  personally

Such is  love  of  modern  IPBs

Sometimes  I  think I am a  little   crazy ...  I have  no  private  fortune  to  invest in collectibles , and  I  have never  sold  a  bottle  in my life ( although  that may change  in the  years  to  come  as  I    try  to  turn  over  my collection )

But  that's  me  !    Warts and  all

End of  pensive  mood

Cheers    Peter




 
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2011, 12:20:20 am »

Nice story, Peter,.. I agree with you and some of the names I forwarded somehow belong on the list of 'special' (especially Rui Zhi/Yi Ding, Qiu Shi, Shi Qing, Li Shan - I think this is Liu Ye also, Liu Ye - CIPMA also listed, Jiu Zhou - sent you refence earlier, Yu Cheng).  Maybe they will never reach stratosphere but they keep coming back in my collection.

It is ok, if others dont join us, we will just keep the secrets to ourselves.... for now...

Hope you are well...

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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 12:27:44 am »



It is ok, if others dont join us, we will just keep the secrets to ourselves.... for now...





LOL !  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2011, 01:17:31 am »

 Hi   again  All  (  Few...)

Our   secrets   are  all here  on the   Forum    for those   who  wish to  learn

One thing  that   impressed  me  greatly  at the   WXS  BJ  Museum opening   was a  discussion  with  Ian  Hardy  (current VP  of the  ICSBS, and  previous    Head  Master  of a   famous  UK  school,  after  his  years  in HK) . Ian   stressed  SCHOLARSHIP   above  all,  and  you  can see  that  from his   articles  in the  ICSBS  Journal.  Ian  does  not have a  big  personal  collection,  but  he   sure  knows  a lot  about  the  Middle  School  !

I am putting as  much   effort - if  not  more  - into  my  DB  than  I put  into  my  literature   review  when I  wrote  my  Ph.D    thesis  in   1974  ( endless nights  in the  Bodleian  Science  Library  at  Oxford)  

I have  raised  the  ante  in the   ICSBS   via  the   WXS  BJ  museum opening ,and I still have  follow-up  work to  do  on that.   But  if  finally  no  ICSBS  senior members  join  us, then  that's   their  loss  (but also   our  loss) . Maybe  I can  do something  more  if  ever  there's  an  ICSBS  annual  convention  in Asia, but  I will certainly not   go  to  USA   to  join  them.   After  all, we  are  collecting  CHINESE    IPBs.  Let  Muhammed   come to the  mountain!

I am  a  fully  paid-up member  of the  ICSBS .  But  so what  ?    Membership  of this   Forum  is  far  more  important  to me, and I log  on  ( briefly)   5  -  6  x  per day  for  updates  

PAT  :  I am now  sure  Rui Zhi  =  Zhang Limin.    We  have  tracked  down    Qui Shi and   Shi  Qing.  Liu  Ye  = Guang Ye  (@CIPMA)  . But  we  still don't know  who is   Li Shan  ( unless  I missed  something)

You  sent  me a  list  about   20   artist names,  most of  which  I am  sure  are  pen names  (    because 2  x  characters)

As soon as  you  can send  me  update  info / pics  of   their  bottles  etc  I will upload  into the  DB.

I am also  months  behind  on the  DB  because  I  have a pile  of  books   waiting  to be  scanned .   I do mean  a  PILE  ! .

Re  the  DB  :  if  anyone  out   there    sends  me a   16  GB  memory  stick  by post  they  will  get  it  back  with the  latest  version  of the   DB  by return  post .    

In the   past few  months   I  have  sent  out  many   free   memory  sticks  with the   DB on it  ( + a  load  of  other  stuff)  to  select, sincere  collectors  but  I have  had  zero  feedback  in return  i.e.  zero  pics  of  collectors' own  bottles.

  So  from now  on, the  DB  will only be  available  if  collectors   first   send  me a   memory  stick .

My postal  address  is  :  P.O. Box  20033,  Hennessy Road  Post  Office,  Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hope  to  hear from you   all  ....

Cheers    Peter



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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 01:33:48 am »

One correction.  There may very well be 2 Rui Zhi's because I have a certificate with a calligraphy bottle from Nie Lie (with picture et al), and the bottle is signed Rui Zhi.  This is undisputedly true ,.. so DONT change your database on Nie Lie
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2011, 01:38:55 am »

Your point on the db is right on, but I have just not had the time to collect/assemble/catalog/photograph, and may not have for a while.  In addition, in very many cases I still need the chinese characters identified on the bottles, and I dont have a Chinese speaker/reader on hand.  On the other hand, I did tell you this from the start.  One day you will have your original stick you sent me with all my bottles on it.  Sorry for that, but time is limited.  I have been traveling over 20000 miles just in the last 6 weeks in 4 different time zones.   
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2011, 01:52:23 am »

Hi Pat,

The   comment  about  zero  feedback  was   certainly    not  directed  at  you   !   Wink

In  all the   world,  the most  useful and  meaningful   feedback  has  been  from  you and  Bill   re  IPBs  (  + of  course  George's   enthusiasm )

 Grin

Re  Rui  Zhi  : I am wondering  if  this  was  Zhang  Limin  passing  his  early  bottles   to   Nei Lei , who  then signed  " Rui Zhi"  in them.   ZLM  did  tell me  that  in the  past   he  gave some   unsigned  bottles  to "another  person"   who  signed  his name  before they  went  out  to the  market.   Nei Lei / Yi Ding  has  close  contacts   with Ms  Wang's  shop  in SH, and also    Ms  Wang  has  close contacts  with   Da  Yong ( =  Zhang Yong ,  teacher  of   ZLM). So it  seems  there's a  kind of  incestuous    group  there , and   maybe   Rui  Zhi  is  some kind  of  shared  pen name .

In any case ,  ZLM  is a   fast-rising  super-star  !

Cheers,  Peter

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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2011, 02:00:00 am »

Possible ofcourse, but as far as I know ZLM is NOT a calligraphy painter... some things we may never know but on this one I am pretty sure.
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 02:26:41 am »

Hi Pat

Sorry  - I  forgot that   your  Rui Zhi  is  calligraphy.

Certianly  calligraphy IS    Nei Lei's   sepciality  and  is NOT ZLM's   specialiality

Cheers    Peter

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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2011, 02:40:49 am »

Why sorry?  We are among friends here, a close and tight knit, small group now, and we learn from each other.  No problem, I just wanted to correct the db, or in this case actually keep it the way you had it (with 2 Rui Zhi's) haha....

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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 02:48:30 am »

BTW, on the Nie Lie subject, I am not sure I shared this before but I heard Nie Lie is having some serious back problems resulting in difficulties painting any IPB today, let alone doing calligraphy, so those bottles will go through the roof!  I enjoy his bottles and style, and I hope this is of a passing nature, but I fear the rumours are founded and true.  This comes from a long-standing dealer who bought from him since early days.
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 05:01:09 am »

Hi Pat,

Nei Lei  is  an intruiging artist.  I have   3  categories  of  bottles    painted  by  him  :  all    so totally   different   that  I have  difficulty  to believe  they are  all by the  same artist.

1.  Persian cats  (  + mouse)  -   superb   painting

2. A  series  of    so-so   landscapes, all very  similar  in style, that  he ( ? )  painted  about  2  years  ago   in one   session , and most  of  which I bought  up at the   time 

3.  2  x   superb  calligraphy   bottles 

I bought all the   bottles  at Ms  Wang's  shop  in SH  .

I met  Nei Lei  last time  I was  in Hengshui  in  4.2010    when I went to his  shop .  There  were a lot of bottles  on his  shelves,   including  some  by other  medium-level  HS  artists    complete   with  a picture  of the  artist and  his   background   bio-data.  Most of them  were  very  uninteresting for me  except a  couple  of  landscapes  which I  photographed  in detail .  One  was  a    poor  knock-off of   another   landscape  bottle  I  have  by another  artist.  And the   other    was  a    direct  ( but  bad)   knock -off of   Sun Honglin's  unique   style / theme  , and  to my  shock, when I  just  retrieved the   pic,  I found it  was signed   " Rui Zhi"  !  I had  to  do  a   double-take  on it  to make  sure  my eyes  were not   playing tricks.   But the   signature  is   very  VERY  clearly  Rui  Zhi  . See  pics  attached

 Shocked

So what  do we  make  of all this ?    Not  sure. 

Is  Nei Lei   some  sort  of  bottle  dealer / middle-man  who    takes  in  un-signed   stuff,  signs  Rui Zhi  and  then  passes  the bottles  on to the  open  market ?   Meanwhile  he  does  his  own  calligraphy  bottles  under  the  name  Yi Ding  (and /or   Rui Zhi) ?    When I visited  him in  4.2010  he  showed  me  what he  said  was his last  remaining   calligraphy bottle   which  was  " not  for  sale"  . But  then  I later   in 2010  bought    my   two     "1,000  character "  calligraphy  bottles  by him  , signed  Yi Ding,  in  SH   at Ms  Wang's  shop   for  about  US$800   each .  If   they  were  in fact  not  by  Nei Lei, they  were certainly painted  by  someone  with  huge  skill. 

So I am really puzzled

Hope  I attached the   correct  pics to this   email

Cheers    Peter


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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 05:20:51 am »

Here  are the  pictures

Peter


* CCC of Sun Honglin bought @ Yantai.jpg (119.14 KB, 1020x1623 - viewed 35 times.)

* CC Rui Zhi @ Nei Lei (2).JPG (255.75 KB, 584x1024 - viewed 33 times.)
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2011, 05:47:40 am »

To be honest, I am just not sure.  I have one superb 'animal' bottle (an Armadillo) signed Yi Ding (goes back to another discussion we had also) and at least one but perhaps two non-calligraphy bottles signed Rui Zhi (I think one mythical and one landscape), plus the 2 calligraphy bottles (not signed Yi Ding, but Rui Zhi).  So this all just adds to the mass confusion.  These folks should just stick with one name.  As to the 'signing' of bottles by other artists, if I am sure that any artist I like or have bottles of, does this, I will personally NEVER buy from them again, AND also blacklist them with friends and other collectors.  This hobby is tough enough to get our hands and head around as it is....
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2011, 06:14:36 am »

I forgot to respond to the 'calligraphy skill' point... I have been told by several people that there are only a handful of artists alive or active today who can paint with the detail and skill level that Nie Lie has achieved.  I dont know who the others are, but whoever they are, they would not let him sign their bottles, so I remain pretty confident that a calligraphy bottle signed Yi Ding or Rui Zhi is in fact by his own hand,  The rest is becoming a crap shoot based on our earlier exchanges.  Sadly enough...
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2011, 07:04:55 am »

Hi Pat   ( and  All)

As  far  as  I have  researched,  I  agree   with  you   100%.

It   seems  that  only  Nie Lie  aka  Yi Ding / Rui  Zhi   has   achieved  that  calligraphy  skill   in the past  10  years

I passed  on  one  of  his  bottles  a  couple  of  years  ago   in BJ because   calligraphy  was  not my   collecting theme.    But then last   year  I  saw  first  one and then   another  of  his  unique    calligraphy   style  bottles   at  Ms  Wang's  shop  in SH and   decided to  buy them  both. I   recall  I paid   about  US$ 1K  for  each  .    Totally  amazing  work   ! 

An  absolute  MUST  for a  Modern  collection, whatever  theme  one  specialises  in .

Note  that  Bill also  has a   classic  Yi Ding   in  his  collection

Cheers

Peter


 
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2011, 07:31:15 am »

Hi again  All

I never intended for this   string to  go on  so long, but it  seems  to have  sparked a lot  of  interest, which is   GREAT !

Bottom  line  :   there's  still -  always  will  be -  amazing opportunities   in   Very Modern  IPBs  ( let's  call them  "VMIPB" s  for   short,   meaning  anything painted  post  2000)  

I never   forget my  Spider  bottle which   I  bought  for a  song and  a  dance   a few  years  ago   in  SH  at  Ms  Wang's  original   shop  in the  Yu Gardens   shopping  arcade   before   she  was   was  forced to  move out.    Anyone  -  I  mean  ANYONE -  could see it  was the  work of a genius.   And  I remember  enthusing    to Bill  about  that  bottle.

I still  love that  bottle, and  it  has  pride  of  place  in my  collection.   It's  unique.  THE  best   spider bottle  ever  painted.

The  artist,  Zhang  Limin   aka  Spiderman  aka   Rui  Zi  aka  Yu Ran    aka  Jiang Hua  aka  Xiao Xi     is   an  up-coming  star,  whatever the  plethora  of names  he  has  used   so far  .    I have  in  front of  me  an  exquiste   peacock   painting  by him that  I  begrudged  paying  RMB4,000  for  at  Yantai  in  9.2009,    but  for  which I would  now  happily pay  twice that .

So....  come to  China  !  Bentley's  conducted   Hengshui   tours  ( very)  Ltd   will   take  off in 2013.    Get  yourself to Beijing and  the  rest  leave up to me.  

Cheers   Peter

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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2011, 08:10:58 am »

You are one daft crazy collector you know that! But I love your passion.  It is energizing... show us the peacock.   Grin


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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2011, 09:01:58 am »

Hi Pat,

Sure  I am   one  crazy,  daft   collector. 

But  passion  is  what  drives  things  and   I am passionate   about    Very  Modern  IPBs

George - bless  his  cotton  socks - has  taken the   supreme  initiative to start  this   Forum

I  aim  to  turbo-charge  it 

Yeah !

Cheers   Peter

PS :  You must come  to  HK to see the  peacock .  No  photo  less than   3  MB  can  do it  justice

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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2011, 01:44:12 pm »



I  aim  to  turbo-charge  it 

Yeah !





You guys are sure doing just that !

I really enjoy following your posts.. So much knowledge around the VM artists !

Wish I had something to add to such a great thread, but you guys are light years ahead of me !

Keep it coming !
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