1. He rose to fame by painting his dog
Zhou Chunya launched his career with detailed realist paintings, then moved into semi-abstraction before devising his own unique style that combined German abstract expressionism with Chinese calligraphy. But it was his “Green Dog” series that really caught the art world’s attention.
In 1993, Zhou adopted a German Shepherd puppy, which soon began to feature as a character in his paintings: a large green-coloured dog that seems to display human emotions. “The green dog is an emblem, a symbol,” Zhou has previously said, though it’s up to the viewer to decide what they think the dog is a symbol of.
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2. His most expensive painting sold for 44.27 million yuan (US$6.71 million) in 2017
From the 1990s onwards, collectors have regularly vied for Zhou’s paintings at international auctions. His most expensive work, a painting title China Scenery, sold for 44.27 million yuan (US$6.71 million) in 2017 at a China Guardian auction in Beijing.
3. He’s now focused on painting peach blossoms
At Amanda Wei Gallery in Hong Kong, Zhou is showcasing a series of works inspired by his latest obsession: peach blossoms. The show features oil paintings, bronze sculptures and works on paper that all reveal different aspects of the flowers.
At an artist talk co-hosted at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental by Amanda Wei Gallery and Sanlorenzo Asia (represented in Hong Kong by Simpson Marine) last December, Zhou said of the flowers, “the greatest truth lies in simplicity.”
4. He trained as a propaganda poster painter during the 1970s
Before launching his career as an artist, Zhou trained as a propaganda painter in the early 1970s during the cultural revolution. He quickly abandoned the style when he went to study at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1977 and, unlike some of his contemporaries, has refrained from using propaganda images in his recent work.
5. This is his first exhibition in Hong Kong
Despite being one of the most successful Mainland Chinese artists of his generation, this show at Amanda Wei Gallery is Zhou’s first exhibition in Hong Kong. Several prominent art lovers have been spotted at the show since it’s opening, including actress Carina Lau.
Zhou Chunya runs until February 15th at Amanda Wei Gallery, Shop B, LG/F Wilson House, 19-27 Wyndham Street, Central; +852 2656 2908; amandaweigallery.com
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