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Zhang Xiaogang (Chinese)


Birth Place: Kunming, Yunnan Province, China


Who is painter Zhang Xiaogang?

Zhang Xiaogang is a painter and symbolist who works primarily in monochromatic, surrealist portraits. Much of his work is inspired by family portraits from the 1950s and 1960s, but with a purposefully dark and unnerving edge to them. More recently, Xiaogang has also worked in sculptures, specifically his “Bloodlines -- Big Family” series. He is considered one of China’s best known and forward-thinking contemporary artists.

In over thirty years as an artist, Xiaogang has developed a following in both the east and the west. His paintings have been exhibited at some of the best and most prestigious galleries in the world. This list includes solo exhibitions at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, the Les Camarades Gallery de France, Max Protetch Gallery, and the Sara Hilden art museum. Additionally, he’s considered part of the vanguard of Chinese contemporary artists and has been a part of major group exhibitions at museums and galleries like Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, the International Biennial of Sao Paulo Brazil, and the New Arts Vancouver Art Museum.

What kind of art does Zhang Xiaogang make?

Zhang Xiaogang is one of China’s leading contemporary artists. His work focuses mainly on surrealist portraits that often reflect his complex views on his native China and their history during the Cultural Revolution. Most recently his “Bloodline: Big Family” series has toured internationally, a mixture of his traditional paintings as well as sculptures. Many of his works weren’t able to be exhibited in China for many years because they are considered modern and risque, though much of that fervor has died down thanks to Xiaogang’s popularity around the world. He is now embraced by both the Chinese art community and the west.

How did painter Zhang Xiaogang get started?

Zhang Xiaogang was born in 1958 to two government officials. His mother taught him how to draw to keep the young artist from getting into trouble. As a young teen, Xiaogang’s parents were taken away for three years during the cultural revolution for re-education. This had a profound effect on Xiaogang’s psyche, many point to this as the start of his obsession with family portraits. In the early 1970s, Xiaogang would begin to experiment with traditional Chinese watercolor techniques, he eventually studied with famed artist Lin Ling in those disciplines. Xiaogang studied at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts and eventually graduated with a teaching degree. He was unable to find work and fell into a deep depression, he took odd jobs as a construction worker and art director for a dance troupe. He was eventually hospitalized for alcoholism in 1984. While lying in bed, he became inspired by old family portraits, leading him to the work that would soon make him world-famous.

How much are Zhang Xiaogang paintings worth?

Zhang Xiaogang paintings are highly sought after and can be worth anywhere from several thousand dollars up to ten million or more for his major works. Part of Xiaogang’s value comes from the fact that he has supporters and fans in both the eastern and western art communities -- this has led to his paintings becoming extremely valuable for their cultural significance. The most ever paid for a Zhang Xiaogang painting at auction is $12,142,380 for the piece Bloodline: Big Family No. 3 (1995) which sold on April 5th, 2014. This is by no means an outlier, Xiaogang has had many pieces sell for several millions of dollars.

Where to buy Zhang Xiaogang paintings for sale?

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How to value Zhang Xiaogang paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.

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