Mouton Rothschild’s recent announcement of Xu Lei as the artist of its 2008 label has, like Lafite’s lucky number eight on the bottle, sent prices soaring again.
Here is the much awaited label:
Xu Lei was born in Nantong, Jiangsu in 1963. He studied ink painting at the Department of Fine Arts of Nanjing Art Academy and used to be a professional painter affiliated with Jiangsu Institute of Chinese Painting. Xu was an active participant in the innovative art movement in China in the late 1980s. He returned to ink painting in the 1990s.
Well-versed in the classics, fine-line (gongbi, detailed and elaborate) and influenced by the traditional art, principally Song painting and woodcut illustrations, from the Ming period, as well as by Surrealism and conceptual art, Xu Lei’s beautiful paintings rarely incorporate human figures. What counts is a haunting sense of loneliness and isolation, perhaps indicative of the fate of the individual in the contemporary world.
Michael Goedhuis, gallery owner and Asian art expert, commented ‘Xu Lei is the leading exponent of avant-garde Chinese Ink Painting and his selection is another testament to the Baroness de Rothschild’s aesthetic acumen’.
He joins an illustrious list which includes Kandinsky, Chagall, Dali, Miro, Warhol and Freud.