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Fine Art/Chinese Art - Wu Zuoren & Huang Shen


Good Day,

We have 2 pieces of original artwork (gifted to us in the 1980's by an elderly relative).  He was a private collector of fine and contemporary art - and as  far as we can gather these may have been obtained during one of his many trips overseas (in his capacity as a Professor of Anthropology) or even when he was younger - he grew up in the Far East of Dutch parentage from the mid 1910's to the mid 1930's.

Unfortunately we cannot now find the letters given at the time that gave us a full description and translation of the symbols and writing so would appreciate any guidance that you may be able to give. All that we have ascertained is that one is entitled Goldfish? by Wu Zuoren and the other is by Huang Shen. No dates etc.
Any assistance would be very much appreciated (even just pointing us in the right direction of whom to contact). It has been a long and laborious (at times quite frustrating) process just to get any information from the numerous people and organisations contacted who just do not respond.

I can send other images if required.

Kind Regards

John Torbet

Dear John,

I have not spent a lot of time researching Asian art primarily due to the difficulty with the signs and characters. However, I was able to come up with some information for you.

Wu Zuoren (1908-1997) is an important Chinese artist with his paintings, primarily using ink and wash as his media, are highly prized particularly in China. Most of the auctions of his work were in China. You may want to look up previous sales of his work at China Guardian Auctions Co., Ltd. They sold a somewhat similar goldfish ink wash scroll painting at their 12/19/2009 auction. It sold for $19,071. You may be able to get more information from them at Auction prices for Zuoren from the last couple of years range from $3000 to $426,030 for a scroll painting titled “Home for the Needy”; painted in 1958.

I found an artist by the name HUANG Shen (1687-c.1770) at auction. Like Zuoren, his primary medium is ink wash and watercolor. Most of his work is on scrolls. You didn’t mention the name of the painting or the scene so I am unable to find a similar painting. However his work is also highly prized in the Chinese market. Prices are also highly variable and range from $1500 to a high of $131,940 for a Snowy scene scroll painting. For further research, a primary auction house representing the artist is Beijing Council International Auctions at

I hope this information is helpful.

Kind regards,

Fine Art

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Dolly D Headley


I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.


Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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