BY JUDITH VAN PRAAG
Examiner Arts Writer
From Sunday, Dec. 18 through Thursday, Dec. 22, Seattle’s downtown Grand Hyatt Hotel hosts a special exhibit of the Dai Family Art Collection of 19th and 20th Century traditional Chinese master pieces.
The Dai Family’s ancestors were high level officials in the Qing Dynasty and began the tradition of collecting master pieces around 1900. Considering the political situation in China over the past 100 years, it’s amazing the family managed to keep their collection as complete as it is.
After immigrating to Australia, falling ill, and recovering from a rare disease — her return to health is credited to the practice of Falun Gong, also known as Qi Gong — Mei-Ling Dai decided it was time to start sharing the private, treasured art collection with the public. In order to make this possible, Ms. Dai and her son Tony Dai (born in Shanghai in 1973) founded a nonprofit organization, “Australia Chinese Culture and Art Association” (ACCAA) in 2003.
ACCAA’s mission is: “To showcase the beauty and richness of the traditional Chinese culture and art to the public and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between East and West through art exhibits, lectures, seminars, workshops and publications.”
Starting in 2004, this exceptional collection has been shown all over Australia, the United States, in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Sponsorship by over a thousand large corporations have made this traveling exhibition possible.
In this exhibit, expect to see a great variety of styles, techniques and subject matter.
Calligraphy banners include work by Emperor Dao Guang (1782-1850).
Qi Baishi (1864-1957) is known for his detailed insect, fish, crab, frog and flower paintings.
Inspired by his travels in Europe and America, Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) developed a splashed-ink and splashed-color style of painting.
Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) was a literati painter (making art for the sake of self-expression) and historian, known for the way he depicted landscapes and mountains. One of his paintings sold in auction last year for about $2.5 million.
Xu Beihong (1895-1953) may have introduced the French academic style of realistic painting to China; you can recognize Chinese tradition in the sweep of his brush strokes.
At 14, Gao Jianfu studied with Ju Lian, from whom he learned “mogu” or boneless technique (rendering objects without an outline), creating subtle and naturalistic paintings of flora and fauna by applying water and powdered pigment directly to the painting surface.
Those interested in art and investment will be pleased to learn that Mr. Dai will share his own investment strategies including the once closely guarded Dai Family art collection secrets during several two-hour educational seminars.
ACCAA states: “Mr. Dai is not just any ‘Chinese art expert.’ His own multimillion dollar collection has on average doubled in value every three years over the last 19 years; that’s a phenomenal ‘Warren Buffett’ like average of 25 percent return a year since he started collecting at age 13!”
Exhibition location: Grand Hyatt Seattle Hotel, 721 Pine Street, Seattle. Opening times: Sunday, Dec. 18 from 1 – 8:30 p.m. and Dec. 19-22 from 10 – 8:30 p.m. General Admission: $15, Seniors/ Students $12, Group Tickets (12 or more): $10.
Seminars in “The Art of Investing in Chinese Paintings” take place at the Grand Hyatt’s Liza Anderson Amphitheater. In Chinese: Sunday, Dec. 18 & Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 3 – 5 p.m. and in English: from 6:30-8:30 p.m. General Admission: $20, Seniors/Students: $16; Groups: $15.