Cui Ruzhuo, well-anchored innovation
Poly Auction has devoted an entire catalogue to Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo, proving that collectors are interested in traditional ink painting.
Cui Ruzhuo (born 1944), Morning Mist and Snow over the Horizon, 2013, ink and colours on paper, 144 x 74.5 cm.
Estimate: HK$25/30 M (approximately €3.5/9 M)
Each feature, whether water, mountains or trees, reflects the artist’s personality and ideals. The snow-capped peak evokes his solitary soul, the breeze rustling through the pines his peaceful spirit. snow, historically a key subject in Chinese painting, is Cui Ruzhuo’s trademark. In his work, it takes a wide array of forms shaped by time and the elements. Dancing in the morning sun, mixed with earth or melting, its presence immerses viewers into a meditation on the universe. This work recalls the greatest names in scholarly painting under the Song dynasty, including Li Cheng, Juran, Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, Wang Shen, Xia Gui and Huang Gongwang. Cui Ruzhuo carries on their legacy: tripartite spatial organisation, the arrangement of subjects in order of decreasing size and the technique combining thin layers of diluted ink wash with thick, dark lines. But he is no slave to tradition: voids occupy less space and the brushstrokes are brisker and freer. Although he seems to be swimming against the tide, he is a heavyweight on the Chinese art market, ranking alongside Zao Wou-ki and Zeng Fanzhi as one of the most highly priced artists. According to Artprice, in 2018 the total volume of his auction sales hit $124.3 M, including $21.5 M for the Snowy Mountains alone at China Guardian Hong Kong on 3 October. The Beijing artist has also made his mark in the institutional domain: the first museum in Tokyo ever devoted to exhibiting and studying Chinese works, the Cui Ruzhuo Art Museum, which opened with great fanfare on 13 July, is named after him.