Wu Guanzhong 吴冠中
Wu Guanzhong [File Photo]
2010 Rank: 13 Auction Revenue: US$72.77 million
Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010), born in Yixing, Jiangsu Province, was a prominent contemporary Chinese artist and art educator. He was the first living Chinese artist to have a solo show at the British Museum in 1992. He was skilled at painting of various subjects including landscapes, waterscapes, figures, animals and plants.
In 1947, the artist went to Paris to study at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, where he was greatly influenced by Van Gogh and Utrillo. His distinctive style was rooted in his combining the western oil painting techniques with the traditional Chinese painting form. In his lifetime, Wu burned many pieces of work which he was dissatisfied with, even though his works were tremendously popular among collectors at home and abroad.
In 2011, Wu's "Ten Thousand Kilometers of the Yangtze River"(22.5cm × 509cm) was hammered at 149.5 million yuan(US$23.7 million) at an auction by Beijing-based auction house A&F. The oil, executed between 1973 and 1974, is considered one of Wu's greatest masterpieces. It was the best-ever record for the artist.