Subject:Re: Antique Chinese Painting - help needed
Posted By: Miano Thu, Nov 02, 2017
I wouldn't attribute this to a Chinese artist. Very few artists adopted western perspectives in their paintings. It rarely happened and when this occurred they were most often than not co-opted into the royal courts. Italian born artist Giuseppe Castiglione, S.J. known as Láng Shìníng (郎世寧) introduced this into China and served the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Emperors. I would consider its origin from the geographical areas of Laos, Cambodia and/or Vietnam and date this to the late 18 century (towards the turn of the 19th century). This is attributable to the following 3 things;
1.) The painting employs the use of western perspective, canvas, strainer (mitre joint) and stretcher (butt joint). I thus conclude that the frame is of the period. Virtually all period decorative frames consist of two or more separate frames built up to obtain the final width. Typical construction as seen in the back of a typical old frame.
1. back side of canvas;
2. wood frame or stretcher which supports canvas;
3. inner decorative frame;
4. outer decorative frame.
A reproduction frame would appear as a single continuous piece. This one is not a single continuous piece. Notice the distinct use of color and hues on the skyline, this is a European technique developed during the 18th century(think Claude-Joseph Vernet and J. M. W. Turner).
2.)The French stretcher applied a mitre joint used to adhere the corners. "Keys" or small triangle wedges are inserted in the joint after stretching the canvas to give the canvas its final tension. At the back of the canvas you see the mitre joint and "Keys" all consistent with French artwork. Thus if we consider the French presence in Asia, we narrow it down to this possible territories.
- French Indochinese Union (1887–1954)
- Laos (protectorate) (1893–1954)
- Cambodia (protectorate) (1863–1953)
- Cochinchina (Southern Vietnam) (1858–1949)
- Annam (protectorate) (Central Vietnam) (1883–1949)
- Tonkin (protectorate) (Northern Vietnam) (1884–1949)
- State of Vietnam (1949–1954)
a.) Craquelure - This is the single most obvious sign of old age and change in an oil painting. Authentic paint craquelure occurs because paint dries and becomes less flexible as it ages and shrinks. In the case of paintings on canvas, the canvas slackens as it ages as it cannot endure the long-term stress of stretching. Paint at the center of a painting is the least cracked, whereas paint at the edges is the most cracked, or stressed. The precise pattern of craquelure depends on where, when, and under what conditions the picture was painted, and subsequently stored.
b.) Nails - Please study the nails used to fasten the canvas onto the stretcher and examine against this hypothesis.
In the 17/18 century period the nails used on the strainer of the stretcher had no uniformity of nail heads (hand made). We only see uniform nail heads when they are machine made/moulded which happened at the turn of the 20th century (1890).
"Nails have been in use since the beginning of the Bronze Age, ca. 1800 B.C. From that time to the beginning of the 19th century, ca. 1790-1810, most nails were made entirely by hand at the forge. A nail cutting machine designed in the 1790s cut the nail's shank and reduced hand labor to only forming the head of the nail. At the time of their introduction, these machine cut nails were sometimes referred to as "cold nails" because they were not made at the forge. These machine/handmade nails were used up to the end of the 19th century. By the 1890s, the entire nail was completely machine formed producing the rounded shank or wire nail that continues in use today."