Barely known outside China, he’s one of the year’s Breakout Art Stars, with paintings already cracking $1 Million. Avibrant work by the Beijing painter was among the priciest works sold by young artists this year. Who is he?
The Chinese painter is a relatively unknown quantity to the western Gallery and fair circuit. But he has been gaining attention among Asian buyers—and, now, international ones—for his glowing
depictions of pooling water and mountainous landscapes
His painting Enlightening (2016–18) fetched $1.1 million at Christie’s Hong Kong in July, more than quadruple its high estimates. The Huang phenomenon reveals how, even in an international, interconnected world, regional market stars can still emerge. The difference now is that they don’t stay regional for very long. JackyHo, head of the Modern and contemporary art evening sale at Christie’s Asia Pacific branch, says that interest in Huang’s work has been growing thanks to notable exhibitions in Asian capitals like Taipei,Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
The first work to crack the $1 million mark at auction, Enlightening is a large-scale painting that features the artist’s signature rippling colors, which form something between an oil slick and a neon-lit Cityscape. “His style continues to evolve,” Ho says, but thanks in large part to his electric color palette, it “remains recognizable instantly.”
A New Generation of Landscape Art Huang was born in 1975 inBeijing and graduated from the Department of Mural Painting at the CentralAcademy of Fine Arts in 2000. Fascinated with Chinese Zen and Eastern philosophy, he sought to blend meditative nature and a calm emptiness with electric color ways. This approach also helps Huang crest the waves of trends, which fluctuate between figuration, landscape, and
Huang’s career started take off in 2015 after two solo exhibitions at important Shanghai museums, the Minsheng Modern Art Museum and the Yuz Museum, where he inaugurated a project room
dedicated to emerging art. Huang’s strength is his unique ability to layer colors, according to his gallery Whitestone, which has worked with the artist on shows in
Taipei in 2018 and Tokyo in 2019.
The dealer Johann König also caught on to the artist, having been introducedt o him at Art Basel Hong Kong. König decided to mount a solo show of his work at the gallery’s London outpost in 2018. The show launched Huang’s “Mountain Layer” series, which aims to fuseChinese traditional ink painting with British landscape painting.
Yet Huang’s shimmering works are immediately recognizable and somewhat hard to forget—especially for those who are fascinated by the sometimes-unpredictable ebbs and flows of