Priceless Singapore collection of paintings on show in Hong Kong

Left: Visitors at the art show From Blossom To Harvest in Hong Kong yesterday. The exhibition, held in conjunction with Christie's 250th anniversary celebrations, features modern Chinese ink paintings from the Qiu Zhai Collection, owned by Singaporea
Visitors at the art show From Blossom To Harvest in Hong Kong yesterday. The exhibition, held in conjunction with Christie's 250th anniversary celebrations, features modern Chinese ink paintings from the Qiu Zhai Collection, owned by Singaporean Chan Kok Hua (above).ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
(Above) Visitors at the art show From Blossom To Harvest in Hong Kong yesterday. The exhibition, held in conjunction with Christie’s 250th anniversary celebrations, features modern Chinese ink paintings from the Qiu Zhai Collection, owned by Singap
(Above) Visitors at the art show From Blossom To Harvest in Hong Kong yesterday. The exhibition, held in conjunction with Christie’s 250th anniversary celebrations, features modern Chinese ink paintings from the Qiu Zhai Collection, owned by Singaporean Chan Kok Hua.PHOTO: SIN HUA GALLERY

A Singaporean collection of modern Chinese ink paintings, spanning a period of more than 100 years and worth millions of dollars, is on show in Hong Kong, together with those of Western masters, in conjunction with Christie's 250th anniversary celebrations there.

About 90 works by such well-known modern Chinese masters as Qi Baishi, Li Keran and Fu Baoshi are on loan from Singapore's Qiu Zhai Collection for the show, From Blossom To Harvest, which opened at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre last Thursday.

It is running concurrently with another show of Western masterpieces titled The Loaded Brush, which is being held at the same venue and features close to 100 works by mainly European masters, including Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.

Both shows will end today following a gala dinner held for Christie's guests at the convention and exhibition centre last night.

Qiu Zhai's owner Chan Kok Hua, 60, an art dealer who started collecting Chinese art nearly 40 years ago and was among the guests, said: "I feel very privileged to show my collection at Christie's 250th year celebrations in Hong Kong."

 Visitors at the art show From Blossom To Harvest in Hong Kong yesterday. The exhibition, held in conjunction with Christie's 250th anniversary celebrations, features modern Chinese ink paintings from the Qiu Zhai Collection, owned by Singaporea
A 1942 Chinese ink painting by Chinese master Fu Baoshi at the exhibition. A larger 1954 work by the same artist was sold for $47.2 million by a Singapore collector at an art auction in Beijing in June. PHOTO: SIN HUA GALLERY

In his foreword to the catalogue accompanying Qiu Zhai's show, Christie's chairman for Asian art Jonathan Stone wrote: "We will all learn from the exhibition that explores and examines the development of Chinese painting over the last 100 years."

The auction house's Asia president, Ms Rebecca Wei, said: "I am surprised that such a complete and fine collection of modern Chinese paintings from 1840 to 1949 had come from Singapore."

A Singapore art collector was in the news recently when he sold a rare painting by modern Chinese ink artist Fu Baoshi for a record $47.2 million at an auction in Beijing.

The 1954 work, The God of Cloud and Great Lord of Fate, had been kept in Singapore by various collectors since the early 1960s until it was sold at the auction in June this year.

"I didn't know Singapore has such a good collection of Chinese paintings, and that many Chinese masters such as Xu Beihong, Liu Haishu, Zhang Daqian and Wu Guanzhong had visited and painted in the country till I met Mr Chan and learnt about his Qiu Zhai Collection," Ms Wei said.

Mr Chan's Chinese art collection was exhibited in Beijing's Poly Museum in 2010, but has yet to get an invitation to show it in a Singapore art museum.

"Many Singaporeans even travelled all the way to Hong Kong to look at my collection this time," Mr Chan said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2016, with the headline 'Priceless S'pore collection of paintings on show in HK'. Print Edition | Subscribe