Four Chinese Botanical Subject Watercolors

Late 18th Century
Watercolor and gouache on xuan paper

Reference#: T1291

Dimensions: 13 1/2 x 11 in. (34.3 x 28 cm.)
Overall dimensions in frame: 20 ½ x 18 in. (52 x 46 cm.)

Such botanical studies were created in albums and exported to the West which held an insatiable curiosity for the exotic aspects of the Far East. Still life painting had long been held in high esteem in Europe for its detailed, painstaking analysis which required a skilled hand and eye. In regard to flower painting, the artist was expected to capture the full range of subtly shifting tonality, the various textures from smooth petal to rough stem, a composition that showed the plant at various angles, as well as various stages of the plant life from tiny bud to the crisp browns of degradation. These aspects are in full attendance in the present examples.

This set of Chinese export watercolors is remarkable for the masterful technique of the anonymous Chinese artist who painted them, as well as for the beauty of the color palette used and the elegant compositions. The watercolors are in very good condition.

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