Opening Hours
Contact Person

>> See map

Intimate Encounters Handscrolls and Albums from the M K Lau Collection

Landmark exhibition presenting one of Asia’s finest private collections of 20th century Chinese ink art
Rare artworks showcasing the cultural triumph and versatility of ink art in unique formats

BEIJING/HONG KONG, October 31 – The M K Lau Collection, one of Asia’s finest private collections of 20th century brush and ink paintings is proud to present Intimate Encounters: Handscrolls and Albums from the M K Lau Collection, showcasing 50 works that have rarely been presented to the public. The collection of world-class pieces by pre-eminent Chinese masters including Wu Changshuo, Wu Hufan, Pu Ru, Zhang Daqian and Lu Yanshao, embody the creative spirit and versatility of ink art over centuries. The canonical exhibition will take place at the B1 Hall of Guardian Art Center in Beijing, a significant new cultural landmark, and will run from 7 November to 22 November 2017.
Celebrating the momentous exhibition, Victor Lo, Co-Founder of the M K Lau Collection said: “We are delighted to participate in the opening of the pioneering, hybrid Guardian Art Center with this exhibition of handscrolls and albums. These two formats are integral to the Chinese ink painting tradition and aesthetic and have long been a collecting focus for us. As handscrolls are unrolled, sequence by sequence, and leaves in an album viewed one by one, the interactive delight in brush and ink creations is heightened and perception is sharpened. Usually viewed by an individual or small group of friends, we are pleased to share them with a wider audience.”

Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Landscapes of Mount Huang (an album of 12 leaves) Ink & colour on paper, 1933, 14.5 x 37cm張大千 (1899-1983),《大千黄山游》(十二开册页) 水墨设色纸本,1933年,14.5 x 37厘米

Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Landscapes of Mount Huang (an album of 12 leaves)
Ink & colour on paper, 1933, 14.5 x 37cm
張大千 (1899-1983),《大千黄山游》(十二开册页)
水墨设色纸本,1933年,14.5 x 37厘米

Showcasing 50 rare and superb examples that have been collected over three decades, the immersive exhibition includes equal halves of handscrolls and albums leaves from the 19th to 20th centuries, presented in custom-constructed enclosures across an 800 square meter space. These works are intimate and participatory formats of Chinese ink art – handscrolls are unrolled from right to left on a table, section by section, inviting the viewers to take an interactive journey, while albums are a group of distinct artworks brought together in a cohesive book form. Engaging the viewer with a sense of surprise, discovery and excitement, Intimate Encounters: Handscrolls and Albums from the M K Lau Collection seeks to highlight the participatory qualities of these art forms.

At the entrance to the exhibition’s two enclosures, works by artists from Southern China artists are presented, including an amusing, accordion–style album by Ding Yanyong which is painted on both sides with humorous images of people, birds and other creatures. The first of the exhibition’s two enclosures is largely dedicated to Pu Ru, widely considered the most talented painter among the Manchu imperial family. The show dedicates nine works to the master, highlighting Pu Ru’s unique approach to classical themes, which combines descriptive representations with atmospheric effects, well represented in the monumental 11-metre (36 feet) long handscroll Lofty Landscape, painted in ink on paper. Pu Ru was also a great master of small-scale works, as the diminutive handscroll Animals demonstrates. Viewers are invited to look at this charming work through a magnifying lens. Complementing Pu Ru are works by notable late Qing dynasty artists, Ren Xiong, Ju Lian and Wu Dacheng, along with 20th century artists Yu Fei’an, Wang Xuetao, and Tang Yun.

The exhibition continues in a second gallery enclosure with artists predominantly from Shanghai and the surrounding regions. A highlight is Zhang Daqian’s Landscapes of Mount Huang, an album of 12 leaves, complemented by a handscroll by his brother Zhang Shanzi, entitled Panorama of Mount Huang. Executed in 1933, Daqian’s intimate album, painted on rare Song dynasty paper, records the UNESCO World Heritage Site in all its glory, making use of diverse brushwork to represent the distinctive landscape. The landscape unfolds over 12 vignettes to trace the flow of the artist’s consciousness from experience to poetry to painting, embodying the complexity of the visual project at hand, and the depth of emotions contributing to its creation. Other featured artists include Wu Changshuo, Pan Tianshou, Feng Zikai, Shen Shijia, Lu Yanshao, and Cheng Shifa among others.

Catherine Maudsley, Curator and Senior Advisor of the M K Lau Collection said: “The contemplative nature of handscrolls and albums is all-absorbing. While the subjects vary from poetic to humorous and serious to light-hearted, and the brushwork may range from the freely-brushed xieyi style to the meticulous line gongbi approach, handscrolls and albums encourage close-up viewing. To allow for public display, the exhibition unrolls the handscrolls and presents many of the album leaves in frames or placed in sequence in display cases. We hope exhibition visitors will experience and enjoy the intimacy the formats afford.”

Intimate Encounters: Handscrolls and Albums from the M K Lau Collection chronicles over 100 years of two fundamental formats of brush and ink painting. The show is a testament not only to the connoisseurship and scholarship of the M K Lau Collection, but also to the rich and endless stylistic variations of handscrolls and albums, encouraging visitors to immerse and appreciate art away from our contemporary culture of the instantaneous, returning instead to the leisurely enjoyment endowed upon art making and collecting in traditional times.

Hu Yanyan, the Chief Executive Officer of China Guardian Auctions said: “The reputed M K Lau Collection has gained much respect and recognition in the art world, thanks to its exquisite aesthetic vision and expertise in collecting for more than three decades. It takes a rich collection as such, to curate an art exhibition of this high caliber which offers so many varieties and possibilities. To celebrate the completion of the Guardian Art Center, we are pleased to invite the M K Lau Collection to showcase a stellar collection of handscrolls and albums from modern ink masters. Intimate Encounters encourages viewers to appreciate the beauty of landscape, flowers, birds and human figures depicted through unique forms of ink art. A pleasing journey, therefore, unfolds from here. ”

Guo Tong, Head of Chinese Paintings of China Guardian Auctions further comments: “Situated in No.1 Wangfujing, the highly anticipated Guardian Art Center will soon be unveiled to the public. The Chinese Paintings Department has dedicated relentless efforts towards the planning of its first ink exhibition. We hope this exhibition will offer visitors something they are familiar with, but also to provide a new perspective and angle, so that it is relevant to both the market and academic learning. We are honoured to kick off our yearly program with this special exhibition of handscrolls and albums from the highly-respected M K Lau Collection. It presents rarely seen works by renowned ink masters, celebrating the intimate viewing experience of historic traditions of Chinese paintings as well as the spirit of the artists’ times, while deepening our knowledge of ink art and collecting.”

Full List of Exhibiting Artists

Ren Xiong 任熊 (1823-1857), Ju Lian 居廉 (1828-1904), Wu Dacheng 吳大澂 (1835-1902), Wu Changshuo 吳昌碩 (1844-1927), Wang Zhen 王震 (1867-1938), Zhang Shanzi 張善孖 (1882-1940), Chen Shuren 陳樹人 (1883-1948), Yu Fei’an 于非闇 (1889-1959), Zhang Guchu 張谷雛 (1891-1968), Zhu Qizhan 朱屺瞻 (1892-1996), Zheng Wuchang 鄭午昌 (1894-1952), Wu Hufan 吳湖帆 (1894-1968), Pu Ru 溥儒 (1896-1963), Pan Tianshou 潘天壽 (1897-1971), Feng Zikai 豐子愷 (1898-1975), Li Yanshan 李研山 (1898-1961), Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899-1983), Ding Yanyong 丁衍庸 (1902-1978), Wang Xuetao 王雪濤 (1903-1992), Zhao Shao’ang 趙少昂 (1905-1998), Shen Shijia 申石伽 (1906-2001), Lu Yanshao 陸儼少 (1909-1993), Tang Yun 唐雲 (1910-1993), Yang Shanshen 楊善琛 (1913-2004), Huang Qiuyuan 黃秋園 (1914-1979), Cheng Shifa 程十髮 (1921-2007), Jiang Zhaoshen 江兆申 (1925-1996), Liu Danzhai 劉旦宅 (1931 – 2011)

About M K Lau Collection

The M K Lau Collection is one of the Asia’s finest private collections of 20th century Chinese calligraphy, brush and ink paintings. Encompassing important canonical 20th century masters, the M K Lau Collection is testament to the founder’s vision and commitment to the art of connoisseurship, and is the culmination of more than a quarter of a century of scholarship and collecting. With acquisitions beginning as early as 1977, the Collection boasts breadth and depth of knowledge, with a dedication to fostering new thought and cultural exchange through exhibitions, loans and collaborative initiatives.

The main collection comprises prominent 20th Century Masters, and features a spectacular range of masterpieces, collected with impeccable provenance and extensive exhibition history, including distinguished artists such as Wu Changshuo 吳昌碩 (1844–1927), Huang Binhong 黃賓虹 (1864–1955), Qi Baishi 齊白石 (1864–1957), Liu Kuiling 劉奎齡 (1885–1968), Yu Fei’an 于非闇 (1889–1959), Wu Hufan 吳湖帆 (1894–1968), Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻 (1895–1953), Pu Ru 溥儒 (1896–1963), Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), Lin Fengmian 林風眠 (1900–1991), Fu Baoshi 傅抱石 (1904–1965), Li Keran 李可染 (1907–1989), and Wu Guanzhong 吳冠中 (1919–2010). A lens not just into the rich and ancient tradition of Chinese ink painting, the Collection offers a microcosm into the wider social and historical context of China, providing glimpses into the significant ways Chinese painting has evolved in the 20th century, and its influences on both Western and Eastern visual vocabulary.

Concurrently, the M K Lau Collection aims to expand the perception of Chinese brush and ink painting beyond the traditional masters, extending the Collection to include works that are representative of the varied styles and accomplishments of important artists across different periods. Embodying the wide spectrum of 20th century and contemporary Chinese art, the M K Lau Collection also includes unparalleled collections within the categories: Rendering Change – Arts of New China 1949-79; Hong Kong Ink Art; Contemporary Ink Art; and Woodblock Prints.

  • Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Landscapes of Mount Huang (an album of 12 leaves)
Ink & colour on paper, 1933, 14.5 x 37cm張大千 (1899-1983),《大千黄山游》(十二开册页)
水墨设色纸本,1933年,14.5 x 37厘米