CURATORIAL STUDIES

冻结你凝视的目光 | 布鲁诺·瓦尔波特的雕刻魔力...

2019-03-15

布鲁诺·瓦尔波特以一种神秘的方式,成功地给自己的人物赋予了一种情感距离,由此使人物躯体摆脱了雕塑材料,并且以现实主义方式创造了一种形而上的存在所需要的空间。其结果就是一种力,一种可供移动腾挪的空间,使观赏者可以体验一场沉默的自我邂逅。 ...More

“周吉荣&叶南:天人之际”策展人语...

2019-03-12

每位艺术家的叙事模式和其“时空观”密切相关。时空的选择注定了他的视野和立基点,还有观察视角和表现方法,题材和语言在作品中汇集,成为“他之所以是他”的特征。时间上,可以追溯远古,也可以直面当下;空间上,可以仰望天际,也可以近观身边。时空交叉,不仅反映了艺术家当下状态,也折射出其精神维度的指向。对特定时空的选择与艺术家对历史和当下,近处和远方的态度有关。何时何地可以栖居?何时何地可以对话?艺术家给出的选择和作为对话成果的艺术作品都在冲击、丰富乃至更新着我们的理解,我们的感受,或许这正是艺术创作的价值所在。周吉荣和叶南作品的一个重要特征就是与时下语境的疏离。这种感觉的出现和他们的“时空观”关系密切。具体来说,主要是他们的选择的历史时段和历史观,以及他们的空间关注以及对空间的不同解读所引起的。“遥远的天际线”、“永恒的曙光与余晖”、“穿越时空的建筑遗迹”是在两位艺术家作品出现最多的意象。岁月流转对永恒企及的破坏,建筑遗迹勾起的对曾经辉煌的遐想,日出日落对人世间聚散离合的漠然。在所营造的这一环境中,周吉荣和叶南所表现出的态度显然不同:周吉荣在综合材料作品中突出“空寂”的在场,借助特种纸与笔摩擦而出的的斑驳陆离痕迹,消减历史的褶皱,塑造出一个“无人之境”,演奏着“历史的清唱”。《流景之三》  周吉荣   综合材料 88x136cm  2011年叶南则是通过顶天立地人物的塑造,构成一个个大大小小“十字架”的稳定结构,来抵抗时空给她带来的惊恐和敬畏。“有人在场”并没有带来热闹,反而更加凸显了“孤寂的极限”。《屁孩》之二  叶南  200x200cm  2017年在上世纪九十年代“后学”的冲击下,“大历史观”遭遇了前所未有的质疑。解构之后的碎片化,平视之下的去神圣化随处可见。反映在美术界,突出表现在“新生代”艺术、政治波普艺术的出现。与此相悖,周吉荣和叶南的创作却和“大历史观”相呼应。两相对照,各有其独到之处,当下两位艺术家相对罕见的叙事模式也给观众提供了一个不可多得的案例。之所以以“天人之际”做为展览名,一是因为两位艺术家作品中的视觉构图,二是其作品相对于“现实性”所表现出的“超越性”。在这样的思考脉络中,联系余英时先生在《论天人之际》所提到的“内向超越”问题,可能对两位艺术家的艺术创作状态会有更多的体会和感悟。司马迁《报任安书》有云“究天人之际,通古今之变,成一家之言”,期待两位艺术家的展览可以给观众提供不同的视觉经验和认知维度。刘礼宾中央美术学院副教授2019年3月 ...More

清晰的过去和模糊的现实...

2019-03-12

“清唱”通常指一个人不化妆,不用背景音乐,不是完整地唱完一首曲子,只选择其中的片段歌唱。一般来说,敢清唱的人都不是一般人,周吉荣就不是一般的人。我和吉荣是同学,从中专到本科到央美同事,四十余年在一起,可谓知根知底了。但是,也不尽然。譬如,我们都在央美上学,都在一个系,都在北京这个大环境里,不知道为什么选择了丝网专业。他毕业创作画的是北京胡同,而我选的是木刻专业,毕业创作画的是“贵州人”。《海市蜃楼之十四》 周吉荣  布面综合材料  80x140cm  2004在二十世纪九十年代乃至于到今天,画老北京的画家中,水平最高、作品最受欢迎尤其是外国藏家欢迎的,估计是没有超过周吉荣的。他的制胜法宝有两个:一是独具慧眼。你看他在三十多年的创作生涯中,除了中间有一段选择较为抽象的天空做主题,前后大部分的时间都是选择具有鲜明历史特征的建筑为主题。譬如“老北京胡同”、“人民大会堂”、“人民英雄纪念碑”、“天坛”和“天安门”等等。他总是将这些意味深长的建筑从周边的环境中抽离出来,使它们有历史感的形象越加生动和强烈,令人浮想联翩。二是“独门绝技”。吉荣的“独门绝技”是对丝网技术的熟练掌握和精准应用。其实,丝网版画进入中国的历史很短,中央美院是中国最早开设丝网版画教学的学院,周吉荣恰好是最早的学员之一。《北京No.18》 周吉荣  丝网版画  50x68cm 2008年丝网作为一种印刷工艺和木版画与铜版画及其他版种一样,他们最早都是印刷术的一种,而应用于版画创作都是后来的事情。我至今都还清晰记得,丝网版画当时是一种新事物。此前丝网技术主要是在印染厂中使用,我的中专同学就有分配在工厂里专门印床单和毛巾图案的。因此,版画家和版画学生中许多人并不接受丝网版画,尤其是嫌弃手绘制版的丝网版画线条简单、色彩“俗气”,还有照相制版的丝网版画体现不出当时人们最看重的“造型功夫”。《景观——太和殿》  周吉荣   综合版画  60x75cm  2013年 是的,初创时期的丝网版画大多数确实简陋粗糙,唯个别人例外,周吉荣就是个例外。他用照相制版方式创作的丝网版画,既是已经消失的老北京的珍贵记忆,也是中国版画的丝网经典与历史坐标。我把他那个阶段的作品称为“清晰的过去”。他画的那些清晰而又真实的建筑早已不在,它们消失在八、九十年代的现代化进程里的烟尘之中。“北京胡同”,是一首首令人五味杂存的文化挽歌。此后,他的绘画告别了北京胡同,但一以贯之的是:他仍然画北京,他画霞光里的高楼和城市的地平线;画雾霾中的如同海市蜃楼一样的历史建筑。这些坚固如昔的屋宇在电脑技术和丝网重叠的印痕中变的虚幻而又神秘,这既是周吉荣无声的“历史的清唱”,也是他无言的现世之言。王华祥中央美术学院造型学院副院长、版画系主任、教授     2019年2月24日于北京万圣谷 ...More

寻根之路...

2019-03-12

叶南是中央美术学院造型学院基础部的教授,在中央美术学院从教二十多年来,培养出一批又一批优秀学生,积累了丰富的教学经验。与此同时,她坚持油画创作和学术研究,在她的艺术作品中,我们能够清晰地看到她对人性的关怀和超越现实的思考维度,那是一种扎根本土,并在对中国文化精神内涵的深刻理解基础上的创造,在我看来,叶南的艺术之路,可以称得上是中国文化精神的寻根之路。《重负》之三  叶南  180x180cm  2013年“寻根”的意涵上大体有二,第一是在美学意义上对民族文化资料的重新认识和阐释,发掘其积极向上的文化内核;第二是以现代人感受世界的方式去领略古代文化遗风,寻找激发生命能量的源泉。在我们熟知的文学作品,如阿城的《棋王》和贾平凹的《商州系列》都有“寻根”的特征,这些作品都是把人物置于宏大历史图景中,发掘人性之根本。叶南1988年中央美院附中毕业后,考入中央美院油画系第三工作室,师从詹建俊先生,这原本是一条再正常不过的学习艺术的道路,但人生总是由于某此偶发的事件带来改变——1989年,叶南由中央美院推荐,受文化部派遣前往前苏联学习艺术,成为许多人向往的公派留学生。前苏联是一个具有深厚文化历史积淀的民族,在他们的绘画中我们既能够感受到这个战斗民族的英雄气质,又能体会到他们纪念碑式的历史厚重感。他们的艺术既有俄罗斯民族历史中的经典故事,又有在或重大历史事件或平凡生活中表达的对人类情感的丰富追求。今天,当我们重新审视列宾的代表作《伊凡雷帝杀子》和《扎波罗什人给土耳其苏丹王复信》等作品时,我们仍能够真切地感受到像列宾这样的俄罗斯艺术家在创作中把握历史事件冲突与人性情感对话的高超技巧。《千年长城万古殇》  叶南  350x800cm  2018年 身为留学生的叶南在熟练地研习列宾美院油画表现技法的同时,在创作上很难和他乡的历史与现实进行对话,这也是所有出国研习的留学生所遇到的困境,但前苏联文化中对人性的深切关怀却深深地在她的心灵上留下烙印。1990年,前苏联解体。与国家解体同时发生的是意识形态的更新,一整套完整的价值观和道德规范随之消亡。当叶南回忆起她在解体现场所感受到的内心震荡时感言到:“社会的动荡,是一个民族最大的损失。” 在这一纷乱的时期,动荡的俄罗斯社会,让叶南更加去思考人性的本质。叶南在回忆她五年级即将毕业时讲述了这样一个故事:圣诞节的午后,五点时刻的圣彼得堡已是黄昏,在这万家灯火时分,她选择了一种特殊的方式去度过这样一个节日——去医院看望久病卧床的导师P.T.法明(P.T.Fomin)教授。当几经周折来到医院找到P.T.法明教授的病房时,P.T.法明教授和他的夫人两位八十有余的老人,感动得热泪盈眶。临别时P.T.法明教授写下了他人生中最后一行字:“我非常高兴有缘与叶南相识。祝聪明的叶南不断取得新成就,创作出更优秀的作品。”当在毕业答辩时,叶南向全院师生讲述了这一故事并展示了法明教授的最后文字时,在场的师生们流下了感动的泪水。当时的俄罗斯美术院院士、列宾美院学术委员会主任A.A.梅利尼夫(A.A.Mylnikov)评价道:“你做到了我们所有人想做而没有做的一件事。”这样的一段经历让叶南意识到,人性是共通的,是超越民族和国界的。《我心飞翔》之一  叶南  200x200cm  2014年1996年,叶南学成归国,在中央美院油画系任教。掌握了俄罗斯油画技巧的叶南,真切地感受到中国现实社会发展的变革与中国现实主义绘画的关系,与她在俄罗斯所学到的历史题材与宏大叙事的方法是完全不同的。在回忆这段时间时,叶南讲到,留学回来的人一般都不会画创作,因为我们既不能表现别国的历史人文与自然,又无从扎根在中国这块土地上找寻创作切入点。这时的叶南如同所有的归国留学生一样,在艺术语言与社会题材的维度中探索,然而不久,她就开始把俄罗斯绘画中寻根精神,切实地转化为对于中国现实的语言表达,也就开始了她归来后的寻根之路。今天,展现在我们眼前的由刘礼宾先生策划的“孤寂的极限——叶南作品展”是叶南教授2000年至今的代表性作品。我们无论从她描绘右玉和赤水河的风景中所寄寓的雄浑苍茫的大地,还是对古战场的追思,以及身为母亲关怀孩子的成长到那些有宗教信仰和历史题材的作品中都能够看到她对人性共通情感关注、对人类历史的思考、对人最基本情感的表现和热爱,这些作品更是“寻根”的见证。叶南教授既明确了她作为中国艺术家在当下社会所面临的问题,并且找到了属于自己的解决问题的方法。在叶南的“孤寂的极限”的大地上,我们看见的是一位艺术家,翻开历史的长卷,发出的洪亮的声音。这样的声音让漂浮的根深深地扎根在中国当下这一片大地上。张路江中央美术学院造型学院副院长、基础部主任、教授2019年2月 ...More

林岗历史画创作的11件代表作...

2019-03-11

《群英会上的赵桂兰》(作者放大原作)水质颜色,绢138 x 176cm1951中央美术学院美术馆藏(首幅原作:水质颜色,纸。香港汉雅轩藏)林岗    描绘了1950年9月25日毛泽东在“全国工农兵劳动模范代表会议”期间上亲切接见劳动模范赵桂兰的情景,这件作品被认为是延安时代以来新年画发展的一件具有代表性的作品。创造性地将油画语言渗透其中,尤其在构图和人物塑造上呈现出与传统年画完全不同的面貌。1951年这件作品被《人民日报》刊载后,印成年画在全国发行上百万份。 《狱中》油画160x282cm1961中国国家博物馆藏林岗《狱中》是林岗留学回国后创作的第一张历史画,画面的中心人物以革命者王若飞为原型,表现了革命者狱中斗争的情形。在作品中,林岗采用了欧洲古典油画的透明画法,在层层的罩染中完成对室内空间和凝重画面氛围的营造,成为当时革命现实主义创作的佳作。此画为新中国首次试用此技法的作品。 《考察农民运动》油画150 x 275cm1964湖南韶山美术馆藏?林岗当时在共产国际的领导下,要求中国共产党像苏联一样,红军攻打城市、占领城市直捣冬宫取得革命胜利。当时中国共产党内对革命方式及革命路线争论激烈,毛泽东在湖南农村开展了打土豪、分田地土改运动,农民情绪极为高涨,纷纷参军。中国是个农业国,毛泽东熟悉农民,走农村包围城市的革命道路更符合中国的国情。《井冈山会师》油画200 x 380cm1975中国国家博物馆藏林岗1927年9月毛泽东率领湖南等地革命军举行秋收起义,上了井冈山,建立革命根据地,随后朱德率军前往井冈山与毛泽东会合,以壮大革命队伍。到达当天,毛泽东正好下山有任务,等到毛泽东返回时,朱德大军已经安顿好了。但从大的历史发展看,是朱德投奔井冈山根据地与毛会合。《周总理是咱贴心人》油画154.5 x 220cm1976私人收藏林岗,厐壔,苏高礼   1976年10月,当得知揪出“四人帮”后,我们立即自发为纪念周总理去逝周年。庞壔与苏高礼完成《贴心人》,合作中庞壔画总理右侧的群众及左侧的老大娘,苏画左侧其他群众及背景,铺完大色调后,感到比较暗,林岗先把粉红衣服提亮,随着将窑洞墙面及地面提亮,定了大色调,然后画周总理及陈永贵形象,庞涛希望除总理之外,都画普通群众,未采纳。苏、庞接着完成,庞又将左侧人物形象作了修整,使整幅画相对统一,全部背景环境皆由苏高礼一人完成。 《万里征程诗不尽》(又称《马背诗篇》)油画180x298cm1977中国国家博物馆藏林岗,厐壔  《万里征程诗不尽》是林岗和厐壔为纪念毛泽东主席逝世周年的创作,画面构图由厐壔完成。当时革命历史博物馆到中央美术学院组织毛主席去逝周年画展,林岗首选了做诗的画题。在革博放大完成,古元先生看后问:这画的题目是什么?答:还没想好,马背吟诗?,古元先生停顿片刻说:“万里征程诗不尽”,从此定名。《峥嵘岁月》(又称《长征路上》)油画165x300cm1979中国国家博物馆藏林岗,厐壔 表现的是朱德三次过草地的情景,这是长征过草地最悲壮的一幕,此次过草地前既无牲口,亦无青稞干粮,其艰辛历程难以想像。除了在长征路上采访体验之外,画此幅历史画前,特意观看了人民艺术剧院演出的《万水千山》,演员阵容强大,但是看了之后感到过于夸张、简单化,表演太过份,我们力求避免这些弊病,当时画面有牺牲的战士、有遗骨,但通不过,只能盖上灰布还献上一束野花。皆属浪漫的构想,真实是更加的惨烈悲壮。《十里长街》(又称《万众心相随》)油画150x310cm1976中国国家博物馆藏林岗,葛鹏仁 创作于周恩来总理去世举国哀痛的氛围,既具有纪实性,但更是画家情感的抒发。画面中的每一个元素都是由感而发,而非戏剧性的刻意安排,浓郁的灰冷色调和宽幅画面中几组相拥而泣的人物强化了悲哀的氛围,延至远方的送别队伍则提示了人们对一代伟人的绵长怀念。透过这件作品,人们得以体味与画家本人感受相关的一种“在场的历史”书写,从而更深刻地理解作品的内涵。《东渡》油画135 x 200cm1976 - 1977私人收藏周总理青年时代赴日留学,曾作诗:“大江歌罢掉头东,邃密群科济世穷,面壁十年图破壁,难酬蹈海亦英雄。”在此诗启发下,构思《东渡》。《画家王式廓》油画82x78cm1978赠王式廓家属 画家王式廓是林岗的老师和好友,他所提倡的艺术创作要深入生活的理念深刻地影响了林岗的艺术。他们曾被委派共同创作《转战陕北》,但在采集资料的写生过程中王式廓却倒在了画架旁,为艺术和人民献出了生命。为了纪念王式廓,林岗创作了这幅肖像画。《女兵》(又称《路》)油画140 x 130cm1986北京美术家协会藏林岗1978年在草地走访过长征时因病未走出草地的红军女战士,她的一席回忆令人难忘,女兵这幅画是作者有感而发的。“女兵”表现的是生病的女战士在茫茫草地,被战友用力拖着往前走…。 ...More

Re-discussion on the Curatorial Structure of “Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art” Exhibition...

2019-03-07

When a country falls and its power declines, it is imperative to take reform. After the May Fourth New Culture Movement, the “tide of studying abroad”, as a way to transform China and make it strong, became one of the most characteristic phenomenon of Chinese art at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Studying in Japan, France, and later the Soviet Union were three routes of studying abroad and became three holy lands for Chinese art moving towards modernity. If “studying in Japan” was the beginning of China’s entry into formal art education, then “studying in France” established the system and pattern of Chinese modern art development. The “Pioneering” exhibition traces the violent history of Chinese artists studying in France as well as its influence on the modern advancement of Chinese art. Retrospect is for looking into the future firmly. In the early 20th century, despite frequent wars, it was full of stories, and the development of the reform promoted the exchange and integration of ideas across regions and cultures. In the past two years, more and more early case studies have been conducted, but a large-scale academic review is still in short supply, so this grand exhibition is planned and organized under such a background. On the occasion of the continental celebration of CAFA, it mobilizes academic resources, as CAFA Art Museum calls up a curatorial team from multiple channels to construct this exhibition, inviting experts and scholars who have conducted an in-depth research on the field of “studying abroad in France”, including Dong Song, Philippe CINQUINI, Liu Libin, Jiang Mingyang, to participate in the curating work. After carefully checking historical materials and searching for missing pieces of works, the curatorial team sorted out the final appearance of the exhibition from interlaced clues. The topic of the exhibition involves multiple perspectives, such as the spread of Western modern art in China, the transformation of Chinese art to modernity, and the starting point of Chinese modern art education, and so on. With compact structure and grand scale the cultural phenomenon of “studying abroad in France” is deeply explored and presented in the exhibition.Oil painting comes from the West, and the establishment of its discourse subject is inseparable from the way of teaching and learning. At that time, France was the center of world art, China was in the climax of the tide of “Studying Abroad in France”, and Europe was also on the node of transition from classical tradition to various trends of modern art. When the first batch of Chinese artist studying in France returned to China, they displayed their talent to build schools, resume education, start publications, and hold exhibitions in devastation, and put the artistic concepts and techniques they learned in France into practice in the social soil of China. Their drastic speculation on modern art was like a ripple in the pool of China. How to comb through this complex history without having any prejudice? The curator Hong Mei mentions that when it comes to the transformation of Chinese art in the first half of the 20th century, whether they were pioneers of exploration who tended to modern appeals of Western classical academia school and Realism, or those forerunners who were on the road of modern appeal approaching various Western modernist schools, they jointly propelled the formation and development of the basic appearance of Chinese art in the 20th century. From this way of thinking, the exhibition set up an open space for showing them on the same stage. As the exhibition clues move forward, the diverse and rich artistic ideas of these artists of that time are presented in a broader framework, and finally back to the central theme.In the premise of following the above-mentioned curatorial ideas, the details of the exhibition are also made clear with more designs that fit in the whole picture. The presentation starts with the works of Wu Fading and Wang Rujiu who were among the first artists studying in France and ends with Liu Ziming, the last artist who studied in France in 1949. Xu Beihong was the first student to study in France at public expense, and many vital works created by him during his study in France are displayed at the beginning of the exhibition. Wu Guanzhong and Zhao Wuji went to France at the end of the whole trend, and directly opened the prelude of another era in their entire artistic creation. The well-planned layout of square shape, both objective and monolithic, not only give consideration to the personal appearance of the artists but also points to the deep reasons and driving forces for the formation of the phenomenon of studying in France. It concentratedly reproduces the scene of the mixed group of students studying in France who pursued Modernism, which touches the audience’s heart after watching the exhibition. In addition to the masterpieces of famous painters, the curator Hong Mei has done much hard work to select works and complete the list of exhibits in the process of sorting. The exhibition excavates and brings out the works of artists such as Xie Touba, Guo Yinglin, Wang Rujiu, Li Fengbai, Lei Guiyuan, Liu Ziming, and so on, which enables the works of many artists studying in France who have faded out of mainstream art history to be exposed to the public again. The scholar Dong Song traces the historical data of Guo Yinglin, an artist missing in the history circle for a long time, and makes the three Guo Yinglin’s paintings, which have been covered with dust in CAFA Art Museum for many years, be shown to the public for the first time, which attracts the attention of experts and scholars again, and also reflects the curatorial team’s respect for original history appearance as well as their self-consciousness for mining historical materials.Among the courses selected by many artists who studied in France, oil painting, sketch and sculpture were the main subjects. However, due to the small amount of existing historical materials and objects of early sculptures, the research on sculpture and modern sculpture has been quite difficult as it has been in a weak position. In this “Pioneering” exhibition, apart from the clues from canvas works, the sculpture section “Chinese Sculptors Who Studied in France: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Sculpture” that curated by Liu Libin is another highlight of the exhibition and forms a complementary perspective.This special exhibition uses three sections to review the main activities of sculptors who studied in France. From a large number of raw materials, images and works on display, it is surprising to find that their creation styles are quite distinct. During their time in France, their nude portraits showed the exact proportions of the human body, in line with the artistic aesthetic expression techniques, and many works even won the salon award. With the development need of Chinese monument sculpture and urban space, a large number of public sculpture projects have been promoted. In order to make sculpture survive in the realistic soil, these sculptors made more explorations, changes, and practices in the combination of Western sculpture and traditional Chinese sculpture.Due to these complex historical reasons, in order to highlight the academic value and practical significance of modern Chinese sculpture in the first half of the 20th century, curator Liu Libin led a shooting team to Chongqing, Chengdu, and other cities to search for the public sculpture that inspired people during the Anti-Japanese War. By using aerial photos and holographic projection, they try their best to bring the audience close to the context in which these sculptures were created, through showing original works, presenting graphics and texts, and restoring public sculptures with 3D reconstruction. Among them, Liu Kaiqu’s “Monument of Unknown Heroes” is presented vividly with the high-tech way of 3D images, which is an innovative way to attract viewers to have a more comprehensive and multi-level understanding of the pioneers of modern sculpture.The man who eats the fruit thinks of the tree, and the man who drinks the water thinks of the source. Tracking back to the cause of knowledge and context, the special exhibition “Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Their French Teachers”, combs through the influence of those French teachers on Chinese artists who had studied in France, and thus leads to a hidden clue that promoted the formation of Modernist ideas of Chinese artists – French teachers. Curator Philip CINQUINI has conducted a profound study on Xu Beihong as well as the learning process and teacher-student relationship of Chinese artists studying in France in the early of the 20th century. From this point of view, compared with the migration process of different technical elements moving from one civilization to another, it is more important that artists absorbed these elements from France and practice them in China. During the process, the connection built between Chinese artists and French artists had played a crucial role.In this special exhibition, the curator selected the works from four French artist of Academism of École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris (ENSBA): Fernand Cormon, Paul Albert Besnard, Pascal DAGNAN-BOUVERET, and Francois Flameng; the artists who had associated with the modernist movement of the early 20th century; early Faurist painter Othon Friesz, and two French Cubist painters Andre Lhote and Jean Souverbie. They either taught or directly trained at independent colleges and had a direct impact on the thinking of Chinese students in the process of teaching them. The exhibition also presents the works of French teachers who had traveled to China or Asia to teach, such as André Maire, who had taught Dong Xiwen at the branch school of ENSBA in Hanoi, Vietnam. André Claudot used to teach at Beiping Art School in Beijing and then went to Hangzhou with Lin Fengmian.In this special section, all the details of Chinese artists taking Western painters as the reference gather together and eventually lead to the history of the direction selection and appearance formation of Chinese art transformation in the first half of the 20th century. It also brings about the profound issue about choosing artistic view in the past a hundred years of exploration.In 1917, Cai Yuanpei, Li Shizeng and other artists established the Sino-French Education Association and a Work-Study program in Beijing. For that, a large number of art students gained the opportunity to study in France under a study-work basis. There were more than one hundred art students studying in France, and in addition to ENSBA, many students spent their time in private studios, becoming the largest number of international students at that time. In an era of great changes, the pioneering students studied with determination and perseverance, endured the loneliness of being in a foreign country, and pursued true knowledge of art while feeling the free air of art in France at that time, and then continuously prompted the emergence of different associations. The well-known ones include “Hopps Association”, “The Association of Chinese Artists in France”, “Chinese Art Society in France”, and so on. On April 2, 1933, The Association of Chinese Artists in France was founded at Chang Shuhong’s residence in Paris, France. Chang Shuhong expressed in the article “The Establishment of The Association of Chinese Artists in France” (published in the special issue for the Association of Chinese Artists in France, No.8, Volume 2, Yifeng magazine) that, “we feel deeply comforted in spirit by the freedom to comment on the state of the art world and art problems, yet in order to consolidate our foundation and develop our external cause, it seems that we need an appropriate organization.” By April 1934, the Association of Chinese Artists in France had held 16 meetings in one year (according to Li Han’s preliminary study on the artists’ group of the Association of Chinese Artists in France in 1930s). It went through several different historical periods and continued to play a role until around 1950. In 1984, the last president of the association, Mr. Pan Yuliang, returned to China with relevant materials, which enabled the data of the association activities after 1934 to be able to enter the research field, and scholar Dong Song made an in-depth study on it. Dong Song and Jiang Mingyang jointly curated the special exhibition of “A Village in a Foreign Land: Association of Chinese Artists Abroad in France”, and based on the analysis of the three historical development stages of the association to present relevant materials to the audience completely for the first time. Within the exhibition, there is a member list of the association, which involves more than 110 artists from the first session to the reelection of it in 1945, and includes information collected about them: portrait, birth and death year, birthplace, subject, and the period of their stay in France. It is a collection and presentation of precious academic historical materials. However, over the turbulent years, it has been difficult to verify the birth and death years of some artists and find their photo materials. Without the carrying out of these research works, they would disappear into the long history.To some extent, this special exhibition serves as documentary support for the main exhibition. Through essays, letters, manuscripts, photos of activities, original works that created for fundraising the Anti-Japanese War, and other valuable objects and documents, intertwined organically with visual works of other exhibition areas, the viewers can read the artists’ minds, perceive their context, and then dig out a lot of dramatic stories behind them. As a warm place and spiritual home for those living and studying in France, the association had carried their ideals and persistence, their meetings and partings, providing a silhouette to see the ups and downs of the trend of “Studying Abroad in France”. ...More

Reading “Pioneering” Exhibition: Collective Achievements and Individual Characteristics...

2019-01-26

At the beginning of 2019, the anticipated grand exhibition “Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art” is unveiled at CAFA Art Museum. It is an exhibition of historical significance, and for the first time, the visitors can have a look at these artists as a group through their original works. The first impression of the exhibition is that the works are diverse. When you really see this exhibition, you will find that it presents a show with multiple interpretation spaces. ...More

The First Chinese Student Who Won the School Award of ENSBA and was Regarded as the Best Artist Then by Chang Shuhong!...

2019-01-26

Guo Yinglin was an artist admired by Chang Shuhong.Chang Shuhong mentioned more than once thatGuo Yinglin was the best artist at that time,However, none of us have seen his paintings.All of them were lost due to historical reasons,and were highly appraised only in the literature.In the exhibition “Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art (1911-1949)”, many art treasures which have only existed in the legend are displayed for the first time, and many art masters who have been forgotten in history come into our view again, including Guo Yinglin, who had studied in France in the early days, with his three legendary oil paintings. It is the first time that Guo Yinglin’s works are shown in front of the public, and also the first time that the three dust-laden important artworks that have been kept in CAFA for more than half a century appear in public.Guo Yinglin, Copied Millet “The Gleaners”, Oil on canvas, 82x108.5cm, 1920s-1930sGuo Yinglin was undoubtedly a unique missing person. The first recording of him was discovered in “The Meeting Minutes of the Association of Chinese Artists in France”, which wrote “Guo Yinglin, male, painting, correspondence address – Xiamen Jimei School, returned to China”. For a long time, we have known nothing of his experience and achievements, nor of his works, and thus, he became a veritable missing man in art history.Guo Yinglin, copied Corot “Forest Fairies Dancing in Early Morning”Oil on canvas, 97×125.5cm, 1932Mr. Huang Yongyu recalled memories of his teacher Guo Yinglin in the article “The Days in Jimei”: “My first art teacher in Jimei School was Guo Yinglin. He was a real and formal graduate from École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris (some people were not). He was good at both figure and landscape oil painting. I revered him because I didn’t know oil painting and most of the foreign painters he mentioned. He went to Paris after graduating from Jimei School. His voice was burry and nasal, mixed with a foreign flavor, and he dressed smartly. I felt very proud of following him to the gallery, through the oil curry trees and acacia trees.Guo Yinglin, copied “Playing Piano”, Oil on canvas, 147.5x114.5cm, 1932In the hallway hang the large and gold-framed paintings he had copied in Paris, in which there is a painting depicting an old man teaching a beautiful girl to play the piano. This picture is very touching as if the girl in the painting was Mr. Guo Yinglin’s own daughter, and she is afraid of making Mr. Guo get angry, so she secretly takes more glances. Mr. Guo went to Indonesia later. “The painting of a girl playing piano” described by Mr. Huang refers to the work “Playing Piano” in this exhibition. It is an oil painting that Guo Yinglin copied in France, and the original author is unknown. However, from the painting style, it should belong to classical academia school. According to the materials provided by Guo Yinglin’s descendants and relevant historical documents, Guo Yinglin was born in Bondowoso, East Java province, Indonesia on September 27, 1898. When he was six years old, he came back to China with his father. He first studied in a private school in his hometown Haicheng town (now Zhangzhou, Fujian province), and then followed his uncle Guo Meicheng to study in Jimei Normal School.Guo Yinglin (courtesy of Lin Mingjie)Later, he transferred from Jimei Middle School to Nanjing National Jinan School for further study in the Teacher Education Department. After graduation, he went to the Philippines to teach at the Anglo-Chinese School and spent his spare time to learn painting in the art class at the University of the Philippines. He was fond of sports, swimming, and track and field events. In 1922, he spent 3 hours with Gu Zhenglai to swim nearly 14 kilometers from Jimei School to Gulangyu Island, and he also participated in the triple jump competition in the Philippines. Guo Yinglin, Sketch in The Louvre, about 1932 (courtesy of Lin Mingjie)In 1927 (one said 1928), Guo Yinglin was funded by his friend to study in France. In early 1929, he applied for École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris (ENSBA) and was accepted to the Sculpture and Sketch class, where he learned charcoal painting during the day and studied at the Municipal Night School of Fine Arts at night. In April 1930, he failed in the formal examination for ENSBA and thus worked much harder (the examination was held once a year and had stringent admission requirements. No matter how many candidates joined the exam, it would only enroll the first 15 students, and the students ranked from 16th to 60th place were in line for the official students within the one-year period). The next year, he was finally elected as a permanent student of the school.In June 1931, Guo Yinglin took part in the charcoal painting competition of the school and unexpectedly won fifth place. This was the first Chinese student who gained the prize in the history of ENSBA. Chang Shuhong also said that Guo was the best student then.Portrait photo of Guo Yinglin during his stay in France (courtesy of Lin Mingjie)Guo Yinglin completed his studies in France while working part-time. In July 1932, he finished his studies at ENSBA and left the school. In January of the following year, he went back to China after the farewell party held for him by his classmates in France. At the same time, he became one of the founding members of the notable Association of Chinese Artists in France. On March 18 of the same year, Guo Yinglin was employed by Jimei School as the director of the school art museum and also served as the teacher of the Western painting in Xiamen Art School. His students included famous Taiwanese painter Zhuang Suo and Huang Yongyu.The wedding picture of Guo Yinglin and Lin Cuijin taken at Zhongshan Park in XiamenIn 1934, Guo Yinglin married Lin Cuijin, a celebrity lady born in Gulangyu. Ms. Lin Cuijin was born in 1904 in Ilang, Philippines and studied in Jimei Normal School. Three of her female cousins were married to Chen Jiageng’s three sons and became sisters-in-law, which was a story passed on with approval and also doomed that Guo Yinglin & Lin Cuijin couple had an indissoluble bond with Chen Jiageng in a lifetime.In July, the Anti-Japanese War broke out, and in order to escape from the war, Guo Yinglin went to Nanyang and became an art teacher of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts was founded by Lin Xueda (1895-1963), one of the founding members of Xiamen Art School, with the support of Chen Juexiang (son of Chen Jiageng) and the alumni association, opening the prologue of local arts education in Nanyang. Among the faculty members were Lin Xueda (principal), Qiu Yingkui, Guo Yinglin, Zhong Mingshi, Xie Touba, and so on. Xie Touba once said, “Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts is the overseas extension of Xiamen Art School.” The establishment of this art school is regarded as a typical example of Chinese modern art education system extending to overseas Chinese.On December 8, 1941, after the downfall of Singapore, Guo Yinglin followed Guo Meichen to take refuge in Surabaya, Indonesia. He first taught in an overseas Chinese primary school and after a year, opened a gift shop with his friend. In 1942, Chen Jiageng escaped to Indonesia for shelter. In order to cover for Chen Jiageng, Guo Yinglin suspended the business of the gift shop and moved to Solo in central Java with family to rent a house for a while, and later moved into Malang in East Java. Guo Yinglin registered Chen Jiageng, under the name of “Li Wenxue”, in the residence booklet of his gift shop opened in Surabaya. In this way, Chen Jiageng became a legal resident who had moved to Java before the war and lived in Surabaya for five years and obtained the identity card. It was also an important reason why Mr. Chen Jiageng could get rid of the rounding up of the Japanese. During the three years, Guo Yinglin managed local product business and then opened a toothbrush factory, and as such, he gave up drawing completely. Japan surrendered in 1945, and at the end of September, Guo Yinglin accompanied Chen Jiageng to go to Jakarta by train. Before leaving Malang, Chen Jiageng gave ten copies of The Memoirs of an Overseas Chinese of the Southern Ocean transcribed by him to the Guo Yinglin couple for preservation. In the 1980s, Ms. Lin Cuijin entrusted her children to donate the manuscripts to the state in twice, which are now collected by the Cheng Jiageng Memorial Hall in Jimei, becoming the treasure of the museum.In the 1950s, Guo Yinglin’s children gradually grew up and could help manage the business. So, he didn’t have to rush about for life and started to pick up the paintbrush again.Nanyang Siang Pau, reported on page 6 of February 24, 1933In October 1956, an exhibition of works by the Indonesian overseas Chinese art group, comprising works of ten members from the Indonesia Overseas Chinese Art Association, was held in Beijing. It was the first exhibition held by overseas Chinese art group in China since 1949. Guo Yinglin, deputy head of the delegation, visited China and participated in the exhibition with many of his works. There he also met Huang Yongyu, his student decades ago. After the exhibition, he traveled all around the country and returned to his hometown, Gulangyu in Xiamen, and created a batch of paintings. After back to Indonesia, he had lived a stable life for several years, which could be regarded as the most pleasant time for him. On October 19, 1961, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 63.Before his death, Guo Yinglin told his wife Lin Cuijin to send his large copied paintings made in France, such as “Teaching Piano” and “Horses”, to the Embassy of Indonesia for transferring them to the Beijing Museum. Unfortunately, however, these paintings disappeared and never to be heard again in spite of many searches. On October 31, 2018, with multiple efforts of Mr. Wang Cong in Indonesia, Mr. Zhou Bin, the cultural counselor of the Chinese embassy in Indonesia, Mr. Wang Zhixian, the second secretary of the Embassy of China in Indonesia, artist Mr. Ma Yongqiang, Guo Yinglin’s student Mr. Cao Dali, and Guo Yinglin’s descendants, it was finally confirmed that three pieces of his works were donated to the CAFA after his death. This news was verified by Li Yaochen, the director of the Collection Department of CAFA Art Museum. So far, after the search for Guo Yinglin’s final works for a half-century, a satisfactory result was finally achieved.On entering the exhibition hall of “Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art” Exhibition at CAFA Art Museum, we can see the three works displayed side by side: “The Gleaners”, “Playing Piano” and “Forest Fairies Dancing in Early Morning”. In the face of these works, we cannot help but sign that, as an early artist studying in France, Guo Yinglin should not be forgotten by art history. His experience and works should be recorded and passed on, and the artistic spirit of previous artists should be inherited more than ever.Author/Dong SongExhibition InformationDate: January 12 – March 3, 2019Venue: CAFA Art Museum Exhibition Tour InformationLong Museum (Shanghai) March 15 – June 9, 2019Long Museum (Chongqing) June 21 – September 1, 2019CAFA Art Museum · Qingdao Branch September 15 – October 25, 2019 ...More

An important Art Master of the 20th Century that History Forgot – “Restoring” Xie Touba...

2019-01-26

Throughout history, China in the 20th century was undoubtedly amid a great transformation, facing new crisis and transition, and art, as a particular product of social ideology, was bound to seek for new vitality. It was in such a background that a generation of artists studying in France hoped to enter a larger international art stage to complete their self-construction. ...More

A Lively Recall of Pioneering Artists Aboard in France – Over 50 Excellent Artworks...

2019-01-21

The grand exhibition “Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art (1911-1949)” is currently on display at CAFA Art Museum and attracts a large number of visitors. The exhibition news released from major media can be seen in the metro, bus, and airport so that people will not miss this brilliant exhibition. The exhibition presents over 200 works by more than 50 artists studying in France on an unprecedented scale, forming an energy field with a huge amount of information, which provides a platform for further discussion on the cultural value revealed by studying abroad or studying in France – a unique artistic phenomenon of Chinese art in the 20th century.Every picture has a story. This article focuses on representative and story-like works that allow the audience to fell the charm of art more closely, and also clearly restore the figures and characters of those important artists. Then, please follow us……The narrative structure of this main exhibition can be briefly summarized as two narrations of Chinese art modernity in the first half of the 20th century, that is “the modern pursuit of Realism with realistic concern” and “the modern pursuit of Formalism and Expressionism through the exploration of art ontology”. |The modern pursuit of Realism with realistic concern | In the early 20th century, Wu Rujiu, Wu Fading, and other students went to study in France and became the pioneers of “studying Western painting techniques” for Chinese oil paintings in the 20th century. They set up art societies and helped founding national and private art schools to promote a new style of painting theory and skill. “Society of Apollo”, “Peking University Painting Society”, “Association of Chinese Aesthetics” and other societies had become important battlefields for pioneering artists and made introducing Western realistic art become a boom, and formed the following trends of Realism.On entering the exhibition hall, the works of Xu Beihong, Wu Zuoren, Lu Sibai, and other artists – important spreaders of Western European academic realism, are presented on the walls. They found a modern way to improve traditional Chinese painting with the concept and techniques of western European academic Realism.Xu BeihongXu Beihong, Yang Zhongzi Family, Oil on canvas, 59.5x79.5cm, 1928This work was created by Xu Beihong when he was the director of the Art Department of the National Beiping University (Yang Zhongzi was the director of the Music Department in the same year). It is considered as the most classic work in Xue Beihong’s portrait paintings, using an academic technique between Classicism and Realism, such as the description of porcelain, table clothes and accessories, especially the face of the young boy, on which soft strokes rather than color blocks were employed. The models in the painting were Yang Zhongzi’s family, who established a deep friendship with Xu Beihong when Yang studied abroad. Their casual and relaxed gestures also indicated their familiarity with the artist. Xu Beihong created this family portrait for his good friend in turbulent times in 1928, showing their deep friendship. Also, the delicate strokes in the work reveal the artists’ sincerity. Xu Beihong, Old Woman, Oil on canvas, 34x26cm, 1922Xu Beihong advocates the integration of Western realism into Chinese art education system, and the essence of his painting can be clearly seen in this work. While studying under Kampf, Xu Beihong often went to museums to copy paintings of the renowned Rembrandt, and his another portrait of the same old woman was selected for the French National Art Exhibition (salon) in the same year, demonstrating his high level of painting skill.Wu FadingWu Fading, Woman in Chi-pao, Oil on canvas, 94x63cm, 1920Wu Fading was admitted to Beijing Translation School in 1903 to study economics and French. In 1911, he was selected by Henan province to study in France, where he learned law at first and changed his major to oil painting later and obtained the bachelor diploma of École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. He had a good master of oil painting skills and a solid sketch foundation with a rigorous style. He was the first person to be sent by the government to study in France, and there were only five of his works has survived, two of which are displayed in this exhibition. This piece of work is a representative work of his large-scale works. It applied the technique of post-impressionist stippling with bright colors, remaining as a precious work representing the pointillism in the early stage of China.Wang RujiuWang Rujiu, Portrait, Oil on canvas, 99x63.5cm, 1916Wang Rujiu was a pioneer of the first generation of Chinese artists studying in France and also a “missing person” in the history of art. In today’s writings on modern history, it is rare to see his name. However, if you open the magazines and newspapers of the Republic of China, you will find that what you see “him” now is just a tip of the iceberg of the real Wang Rujiu.He went to study in France to learn Western painting and then learned after the sculpture master Bourdelle, the student of the famous sculpture master Rodin, specializing in sculpture. This portrait painted in 1916 has a strong biographical nature. In the black background, the positive image of a male character is presented, and there are no unnecessary details in the picture. The artist depicted the facial expression of the figure with multiple layers of oil paint, just like a standard photo image. Comparing this painting with the work “Musician” created by Li Tiefu in 1918, we can find that both paintings have similarities in theme, structure and other aspects. The big contrast between the awareness of the artist’s name and his highly-completed works leads us to think that there is still a long way to go to sort out and discover the talents left unrecognized in the vast history of art. What was the reason behind such an excellent artist’s willingness to live in seclusion and remain unknown? What kind of life experience did he have in the second half of his life? It requires more materials, opportunities and time to answer these questions. Moreover, this “portrait” created in 1916 also provides more possibilities for scholars to discuss “the first person to create the Western painting in China”.Wu ZuorenWu Zuoren, Male Body, Oil on canvas, 150x80cm, 1931Wu Zuoren (1908.11.3-1997.4.9) learned from Xu Beihong and participated in the southern revolutionary movement. In his early days, he majored in sketching and oil painting, and in his later years, he specialized in traditional Chinese painting, which unveiled a broad vision and had profound meanings. He combined Chinese and Western art with concise and accurate images, which made him become another leading figure in the Chinese art circle after Xu Beihong. This “Male Body” is one of Wu Zuoren’s works that won a gold medal when he studied in France. He went to study in France at public expense with the strong recommendation and help of Xu Beihong.Wu Zuoren, Boat Trackers, Oil on canvas, 150x100cm, 1933This oil painting “Boat Trackers” is in contrast with the work “Barge Haulers on the Volga” by Repin of the Soviet Union. It shows deep effects of ink and oil, and the heavy emotion overflowed forces you to feel the miserable years and perceive the sufferings of the people at the bottom of society, which is very touching. The models in the painting were Wu Zuoren’s Russian classmates when he studied abroad.Xie ToubaXie Touba, Purple flowers, Oil on canvas, 25x17.6cm,1931Xie Touba’s works had won the first prize of the Academie Julian in Paris, France twice. He was one of the founding members of the Chinese Art Society in France and also the founder of the Art Department of Fujian Normal University. Xu Beihong commented that he is very talented; Lu Sibai used a thumbs-up gesture to praise his studying performance in Paris; Hu Shanyu once said that he painted very well! This art master who had been buried in history “comes into view again” in the “Pioneering” exhibition with this painting, in which the brushwork is free and flexible, with a bit of Romanticism. The primary colors of the picture are blue and purple, and the warm earth color of the background sets off the blooming flowers, creating a fully steady and elegant atmosphere of the Neo-classicism academia school. If you observe it carefully, you will discover that Xie Touba harmoniously merged red blocks into the dark tone in the foreground, which can be called the stroke of Genius, vivid yet modest, distinct yet humble, tranquil and meaningful. Guo Yinglin Guo Yinglin, copied “Playing the Piano”, Oil on canvas, 147.5x114.5cm, 1932Guo Yinglin was born in Indonesia in 1898, and when he was six years old, he came back to China with his father. He had studied subsequently in Jimei Teachers College, Jimei Middle School and Nanjing National Jinan University, specializing in Teaching. In 1927 (one said 1928), Guo Yinglin went to study in France. According to Mr. Xie Touba, President of Fujian Art Association after studying abroad in France, Guo Yinglin became the first Chinese student who won the school award after he was admitted to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. In 1934, Chang Shuhong, who went by the pseudonym “Jiang Niao”, wrote in an article published in the art magazine “Yi Feng” that Guo was the best student among his classmates and this article also proved that Guo Yinglin was one of the founding members of the Chinese Art Society in France. In 1933, after returning to China, Guo Yinglin was employed to teach in the Department of Western Painting of Xiamen Art School. Together with Xie Touba, Zhou Bichu and other colleagues, he became a promoter of developing Western painting in Xiamen and even Fujian area. In July 1937, Guo Yinglin went to Nanyang area and participated in the organization of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The establishment of the school set up a typical example of the extension of China’s modern art education system to overseas in the early 20th century. Guo Yinglin’s existing works are mainly large-scale paintings he copied during his stay in France.Lv Sibai Lv Sibai, Courtyard, 100x80cm, 1942This work is a crucial representative work of Lv Sibai that earned him the title of “pastoral painter”. The “Courtyard” depicts a relatively real scene of the rural family’s courtyard, leading people to enjoy the natural beauty. The whole picture wears a gray-green tone, without too much color genre used, and the steady hue makes the image bright, vivid and harmonious, full of the flavor of rural life.Tang Yihe Tang Yihe, Sketching in Jiangji I, Oil on canvas, 38x47cm, 1941 Tang Yihe, Sketching in Jiangji II, Oil on canvas, 33.5X45cm, 1941Tang Yihe went to France in 1993 and studied oil painting with Lawrence at École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. After returning to China in 1934, he had been engaged in art education. In the early days of the Anti-Japanese War, he drew anti-war propaganda posters and received great social effects. The two landscape paintings go on display for the first time in this exhibition, showing a sense of eternal order and rich layering. With the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War, more and more artists studying in France had walked out of the ivory tower and headed to the western China to know about the livelihood of people in the western region and explore the treasure of Buddhist art, which they integrated with their studying abroad experience and discovered a path of new realism that shows concern for people’s living and emphasizes the national spirit. Chang ShuhongChang Shuhong was an outstanding figure who made achievements in painting, archaeology and many other fields. As a pioneer travelling to France, Chang Shuhong studied in France from 1927 to 1936. His rigorous and realistic painting skills not only brought him the first prize in the graduation exhibition of the Lyon Academy of Fine Arts and the first place in Lawrence’s studio but also won him three gold medals and two silver medals in Lyon and Paris’s salons. His works are still collected at the Centre Pompidou and the Lyon Academy of Fine Arts. In addition to studying Western painting, Chang Shuhong was also inspired by the sinologist Pelliot and the picture book of Dunhuang Caves. After back to China, he organized the Dunhuang Art Institute with Zhang Daqian, Liang Sicheng, Xu Beihong and had served as the director since 1944. Then, in the following forty and fifty years, Chang Shuhong had been dedicated to preserving and studying the relics of the grottoes, which made Dunhuang Studies receive excellent reviews worldwide and gained him the title of “Guardian of Dunhuang”. Chang Shuhong, Mass Bombings in Chongqing, Oil on canvas, 79x63.8cm, 1938-1942The “Mass Bombings in Chongqing” was created between 1938 and 1942, when Chang Shuhong was in Chongqing after his return from aboard and before his appointment to Dunhuang. At that time, the Sino-Japanese War was in a stalemate, and in order to force China to surrender, Japan launched five and a half years of high-altitude bombing of Chongqing. The artist witnessed the war and recorded his experience in the painting. This work depicts a family of four, Chang Shuhong himself, his wife Chen Zhixiu, his daughter Chang Shana and his son Chang Jialing, escaping in panic in the bombing. Contrary to the artist’s usual elegant and delicate style, this painting is bold and straightforward in brushwork, presenting a messy image of the war after the bombing. It participated in the exhibition tour of “the Anti-War Art in China” organized by American Museum of Modern Art after its completion and received widespread attention. Starting from the personal experience of the painter, “Mass Bombings in Chongqing” awakens the viewers’ painful experience for the war. It can be regarded as a Chinese version of “Guernica” with its appeal without national boundaries, shaking people’s hearts until today. It can be proved that in addition to national significance, this work also has undeniable value in the world history of art. Si Tuqiao Si Tuqiao, Setting Horses, Oil on canvas, 97.5×222cm,1955Si Tuqiao graduated from Yenching University Divinity School in 1926 and went to France to study in 1928 and 1930. Lu Xun admired his early works and praised him as “an artist with a bright heart”. As an art giant as contemporary artists like Xu Beihong, Si Tuqiao had already been well-known in Chinese art circle in the 1930s. In 1943, the 40-year-old Si Tuqiao found no way to achieve the ideal of serving the country and determined to go to Xinjiang to sketch. He once wrote a sentence in “Xingdi Road” that “Just like a rapid arrow shooting out of the earth, I went from Central Plains to Xinjiang”. The encounter with Xinjiang in this period can be considered as a turning point of Si Tuqiao’s artistic creation. Si Tuqiao loved horses, but only upon his arriving at Xinjiang, he started to treat them as “close relatives”. When he was painting horses in Yili area, he said that he felt overwhelmed with the upsurge of emotion and thus liberated his free and unstrained artistic personality. Countless viewers have been deeply touched by the exciting scene of setting horses. Han Leran Han Leran, Carpet Market, Oil on canvas, 196.8x150.5cm, 1945He Leran was not only an artist but also the first member of the Communist Party in the art circle, an underground worker in charge of the united front work. Besides, Han Leran was also a scholar and the first person to systematically excavate, study, and sort out the historical and cultural literature of Kizil Grottoes. His triple identities compromised his short but legendary life. He graduated from Shanghai Art School in his early years and went to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris for further study. He was one of the first Chinese painters traveling in Europe to combine traditional culture with artistic creation and advocated the integration of painting and archaeology. He did much pioneering work for the preservation of ancient culture and art. Chang Shuhong once mentioned in his article “A Memory of Painter Han Leran” that Han raised some good ideas on the work of the Thousand Buddha Caves, and we expected each other to carve out a field for the revival of Chinese art in the desert. The primary theme of Han Leran’s existing artworks is the description of the working life and customs of the people of different ethnic groups in northwest China by oil paintings or watercolors. The “Carpet Market” displayed in this exhibition is the largest one of his works, and the audience can feel the artistic charm of Han Leran from a very close distance. Wang Ziyun Wang Ziyun, The Qiantang River, Oil on canvas, 56X74cm, 1928-1930 Wang Ziyun, A Small Town in the Morning, Oil on canvas, 59.5x72cm, 1928Wang Ziyun had multiple roles. He was the forerunner of the Chinese new art movement, the pioneer of modern art archaeology as well as an art historian and sculptor. He compiled The History of Chinese Sculpture Art in his later years which filled in the blank of Chinese sculpture studies. He studied in France from 1930 to 1937 and graduated from École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. At that time, his works had already entered the most official art circles in France, such as art salons held in Spring and Autumn, and other independent salons. In 1953, the French edition of the Dictionary of Art and Artists included a Chinese and his work for the first time – it referred to Wang Ziyun and his oil painting “Rain of Hangzhou”, which proved that he had already been an artist having an influence in the world at the time. However, in 1937, when the Anti-Japanese War began, Wang Ziyun left Paris and returned to China to work as a professor at Hangzhou National College of Art. His daughter Wang Qian once asked him, “Paris is so good. Why came back?” Mr. Wang Ziyun replied after some thoughts, “if your courtyard is on fire, can you bear to stay as a guest in someone else’s home?” In that era, a large number of patriotic scholars returned to China from Europe and America to practice “saving China through culture”. The works on display are “A Small Town in the Morning” and “The Qiantang River”, two of Wang Ziyun’s only existing oil paintings as the rest were all burned during the war. “A Small Town in the Morning” has a strong expressionist style, and it can be seen that it is mainly influenced by Impressionism and Fauvism, and at the same time, integrates some techniques and features of Chinese painting. Qin Xuanfu Qin Xuanfu, The View of Mount EmeiIn 1946, China just stepped out of the shadows of the Anti-Japanese War and was in a state of devastation waiting for rebuilding. At the beginning of this year, Qin Xuanfu travelled to Mount Emei in Chengdu to sketch and “The View of Mount Emei” was the result, belonging to the early “Sichuan landscape” series. From the time of staying in Paris to the founding of new China, there were only more than 30 paintings of Qin Xuanfu left. Given the background of that time with displaced lives and material shortages, it is really grateful to have such a large painting survived to today. Yan WenliangIn the history of Chinese modern art education, Yan Wenliang was one of the four art educators as famous as Xu Beihong, Liu Haisu, and Lin Fengmian. In the autumn of 1928, Yan Wenliang went to study in France and was enrolled at École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris one year later. His pastel paintings “Kitchen” created during studying won the honorable prize of French Spring Salon. During the three years of staying in France, Yan Wenliang purchased a large number of plaster figures and catalogues for Suzhou Art College, most of which were famous works from the period of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance. He bought nearly 500 pieces in all, which was the total number of plaster figures owned by all art colleges and universities in China at that time. In 1931, after studying in Paris, Yan Wenliang returned to Suzhou Art College after three years’ absence. In the autumn of 1932, the new campus of Suzhou Art College with Greek building style was completed, equipped with more than 50 rooms including classrooms, showrooms and plaster rooms, which became the largest scale in China. Yan Wenliang applied the education mode of Western colleges in China and advocated the artistic practice of sketching, color, and perspectives to achieve an accurate image, making Suzhou Art College led by him the birthplace of Chinese modern art and classical painting style. Yan Wenliang, Huangpu RiverThe “Huangpu River” was expressed through ways of scumbling, thin paste, thick paste, rubbing, pattern, sweeping, covering and flapping paste. The yellow rays of the sunlight reflected on the river surface collide with purple shadows, freely yet orderly, constructing a busy and lively scene of the Huangpu River. Yan Wenliang, WinterThe “Winter” was created in the 1970s and belonged to one of his later outstanding works. It is not as detailed as the previous landscape paintings that are fascinated with the expression of various color changes and complex and deep description under natural light. Instead, it gets rid of redundancy for simple composition and contains strong connotations of Chinese tradition. Dong Xiwen Dong Xiwen, A Young Beggar, Oil on canvas, 100x80cm, 1947Dong Xiwen was born in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province in 1914, and his father, Dong Huiqing, was a famous local connoisseur of cultural relics. The good cultural atmosphere of his family had developed his love for painting at an early age. In 1932, Dong Xiwen was admitted to the Department of Civil Engineering of Hangchow University, but in the second year, he borrowed 30 yuan from his sister and secretly enrolled in Suzhou Art College, where he studied oil painting with Yan Wenliang and some incumbent French teachers. Due to homesick, he entered into Hangzhou National College of Art in 1934 and learned after Lin Fengmian, Pan Tianshou, and other famous teachers. After graduating from the art college in 1939, he was selected by the school to go to study in the branch school of École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris in Hanoi, Vietnam. Although Dong Xiwen didn’t go to France, he received professional education in Western oil painting, which directly influenced his painting art. While accepting the techniques of European classical painting, he also blended his familiar Chinese painting skill – line drawing into his creation. His portrait paintings employed the artistic language and expression methods of Western oil painting, with extremely high skills in realistic painting. However, the work “A Young Beggar” completely presents a quite western modern style that is different from the previously used pure realism. Huang Jueshi Huang Jueshi, SceneryHuang Jueshi was also an outstanding artist studying in France who was forgotten by history. He studied under Yan Wenliang and was one of the first graduates of Suzhou Art College. From 1934 to 1936, recommended by Yan Wenliang, he went to Europe to study and was accepted to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris, and then joined Tan Wangpei’s studio. He was also the first director of Suzhou Art Museum, the first art museum in China. In the face of such a complex artistic environment of the art circle in Paris in the 1930s, Huang Jueshi had never changed his stance or deviated from Realism. From the picture, we can see that based on the spirit of Realism, Huang Jueshi paid more attention to lyrical and poetic expression. Perhaps influenced by Impressionism, he preferred to depict objects with light and shadow rather than brush strokes, which can be found from the fact that most of his works are about landscapes. Zeng YiluZeng Yilu was an early Chinese artist traveling in France and was also a member of the Chinese Democratic League. Back in 1918, Zeng Yilu had already attended the Xinmin Institute founded by Mao Zedong and Cai Hesen. Encouraged by Mao Zedong, he went to study in France and was admitted to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. “My brother is engaged in painting very well. I hope he can study hard and make great achievements.”, which is what Mao Zedong encouraged his brother and friend Zeng Yilu in his letter. In January 1924, Zeng Yilu and Wu Dayu, Lin Fengmian, Wang Daizhi, Li Jinfa, Lin Wenzheng, and other artists organized and launched the “Hopps Society” in Paris, with Cai Yuanpei serving as the honorary president, and it held the faith of creating vibrant artworks for Chinese people. Zeng Yilu, Xihuang Temple Qingjing Huacheng Pagoda, Oil on canvas, 54.5x35.5cm, 1935The two works by Zeng Yilu go on public display for the first time in this exhibition. Zeng Yilu was also an important artist studying in France who was neglected in the early years. He used paintings to express his pursuit of national revival and ideal life. The work “Xihuang Temple Qingjing Huacheng Pagoda” was created in 1935. With bright and clean colors, the main tower is shown solemn and beautiful by the artist. “Every scenery carries an affection.” In the 1930s in China, under the turmoil of warlords and the destruction of the country, Zeng Yilu in Beiping created such a painting to imply the long-standing glory and unyielding dignity of the Chinese nation. Zeng Yilu, Ancient Pines in Front of the Temple, Oil on canvas, 57.5x47cm, 1945In the work “Ancient Pines in Front of the Temple”, Zeng Yilu used some elements of traditional Chinese art. In color, the earthy red makes the picture slightly show the charm of Dunhuang colors, while green, red and gray constitute an elegant, comfortable and traditional image. In the perspective of Composition, the pursuit of a “flat” sense of picture gives them full expressiveness. Moreover, the painting method of the writing style reflects more the cultural tradition of Chinese elements. When painting the tree pines below and the distant scenery in the picture, the painter used a summarized and generalized form to depict; while for the branches of the nearby pine tree, he shaped it with fluent brushwork, thus highlighting the flexibility and roughness of the main object pine tree as well as its rich variations. At the same time, in the treatment of light, he combined with the techniques of Western impressionism, making the whole picture unified in a moderate color tone. Li Chaoshi Li Chaoshi, Pomegranate, Pastel on paper, 36.1x46.9cm, 1952Li Chaoshi, known as the first Chinese pastel painter, went to France to study on a work-study basis in 1912 and graduated from École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris in 1919. Li Chaoshi was an important artist who studied aboard in France and also one of the oil painters of the old generation in China. His works dealt with subjects like flower, scenery, vegetable, and fruit, and he had never gone with the tide or changed his style easily but wished to follow his true heart, which in return revealed a kind of tranquility and sweetness in simplicity with a strong flavor of life. Li FengbaiLi Fengbai was a very active artist studying in France in his early years. Many scholars knew his name but had no chance to see his works. His life was full of twists and turns, and he once had three different identities: artist, revolutionist, and translator. He Shuheng, one of the five old revolutionists in China, was Li Fengbai’s primary school teacher and also the person guiding him to the road of revolution. It was under the recommendation of teacher He that he was able to get acquainted with the young Mao Zedong. In 1920, he actively responded to the call of Mao Zedong to study in France under a work-study basis. In 1924, he was accepted to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris, where he and his classmates such as Lin Fengmian and Wu Dayu jointly established “Apollo Society”, which was later renamed as “Overseas Art Movement Society”. In the summer of that year, an exhibition of Chinese Art was held in France and attracted international attention to Chinese art for the first time. In 1929, he was invited by Lin Fengmian to come back to China and worked as a professor and director of the Department of Western Painting at Hangzhou National College of Art. In 1933, he went to France again to continue the study of art. After the founding of new China, Li Fengbai went through a transformation for the third time. At the request of Zhou Enlai, he returned to China with his wife, Denise Lebreton in 1953. He worked in the Foreign Language Press and participated in the translation of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Then in 1954, he served as the French interpreter for the Chinese delegation at the Geneva Conference. Li Fengbai, Portrait of Denise Lebreton, Oil on canvas, 44.5×54cm, 1939, private collection Li Fengbai, Portrait of Denise Lebreton, Oil on canvas, 60×81cm, 1937, private collectionIt was also quite dramatic that Li Fengbai could return to the spotlight. Many years ago, in the attic of an old antique shop in the 93rd district of Paris, Jiang Fan, a painter travelling in France, happened to find a big painting folder that had been untouched for a century. There were hundreds of oil paintings and watercolor paintings inside the folder, and after wiping off the thick dust on the folder, the signature of a Chinese painter appeared – Li Fengbai. Compared with his well-known classmates, Li Fengbai’s paintings are not as skillful as that of Lin Fengmian, nor as bold and abstract as that of Wu Dayu, but they are well-coordinated, with bright colors, refined and free strokes, which can be felt fully in his portrait paintings. Some people say that watching Li Fengbai’s works is like reading Hemingway or Carver’s novels. The form is simple, but the content is rich and profound, leaving a lasting aftertaste. Just a week before Mr. Li’s death, he wrote a poem, “what I have learned departed from practice without achievements, but I only wished to be a small screw, do not be surprised to find the gray hair on my head, as you see the snow and ice will cover on the green hills.” His open-minded attitude stands vividly from these words. It is just because of Li Fengbai’s noble character that we should not let his artist attainments be buried. We hope that the presentation of this exhibition can make him get academic and market recognition.  Xiao Shufang Xiao Shufang, Eiffel TowerXiao Shufang (1911-2005) was a former professor at Central Academy of Fine Arts, and as the wife of the famous painter Wu Zuoren, she was often overshadowed by Wu Zuoren’s reputation. Also, she won the top at a northern China figure skating competition, gifted in many ways. Xiao Shufang studied traditional Chinese painting from Wang Shensheng, Tang Dingzhi, Qi Baishi, and others. In 1926, she entered Beiping Art School to study Western painting with Xu Beihong. In 1937, she went to Europe for further study. She was known for her flower paintings and excelled at painting landscape, still life, portrait and so on. Her painting “Eiffel Tower” is an oil painting completed with only a few strokes yet is thought-provoking. In the highly generalized picture, she combined the advantages of both Chinese and Western painting techniques, with bright colors and fresh atmosphere making the work unique. Lei Guiyuan Lei Guiyuan, Reform of Landlords Through Labour, Oil on canvas, 53x64cm, 1950In the history of Chinese modern design and arts & craft, Lei Guiyuan (1906-1989) was a distinguished theorist and practitioner who made outstanding achievements and had a vision of art history. As a leading master in pattern design circle, Lei Guiyuan’s oil paintings are rarely seen. There are three of his works on display this time and the most important representative work is “Reform of Landlords Through Labour”, in which the space formed by the close and distant view shows a rich laying, and the characters look mellow and vivid. Tang Yunyu Tang Yunyu, Slack Season, Oil on canvas, 80x100cm, 1950 Tang Yunyu, Seascape, Oil on canvas, 39x46cm, 1930Speaking of female painters in the Republic of China, many people must have heard of Pan Yuliang, but don’t know there is another “Yu” lady in the same period, that is Tang Yunyu, together with Pan Yuliang, was referred to as two top female painters of the early Chinese oil painting. Tang Yunyu and her husband Zheng Kuiyi met in Japan, and later they went to Paris together to study. Zheng Kuiyi recalled in an article that when they first arrived in Paris – the capital of art, Tang Yunyu showed great interest in painting art. “After arriving in Paris, she went to the Louvre Museum to copy paintings every day. At noon, she ate bread to satisfy her hunger; in the evening, she learned to sketch in an atelier. She was soon admitted to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris to study orthodox oil painting with professor Lebe and Sabah…… hoping to reach the artistic realm.” Tang Yunyu was good at portrait and scenery. Her works are changeable and novel in composition with peaceful and quiet colors. We can see her broad mind and vision as well as an extraordinary manner from her paintings. Liu Ziming Liu Ziming, Self-portraitLiu Ziming (1927 – 2014.1.18) lost hearing at an early age, so she called herself Ziming. In 1946, she dropped out from National Beiping Art School and went to France in 1949 to study painting at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. Four of her paintings consecutively entered the Paris Salon of French Artists and Paris Autumn Salon. She is the last artist to appear in this “Pioneering” exhibition. This work is a self-portrait of her and had been hung in her living room for a lifetime. |The modern pursuit of Formalism and Expressionism through the exploration of art ontology| In the first half of the 20th century, many artists had explored art ontology language one after another and emphasized the expression of individuality, which presented a new modern art atmosphere of developing artists’ personal style, including Hangzhou’s “Art Movement Association” that took Lin Fengmian and other artists studying in France as the core members, “Storm Society” with Pang Xunqin being an essential figure, and a group of art fighters represented by Liu Haisu who determined to break the limits. Liu Haisu Liu Haisu, Sacred Heart Church in Paris, Oil on canvas, 73x60cm, 1931Liu Haisu (1896-1994) was from Changzhou, Jiangsu province. He was a prominent modern painter and art educator. Throughout his life of art education and creation process, Liu Haisu’s early years of studying abroad in France was undoubtedly a crucial turning point in his life. At first, Liu Haisu liked realistic art, and later, when he came to contact with Western Impressionism and Expressionism, he began to develop towards Expressionism as he thought it was quite consistent with traditional Chinese freehand brushwork painting. The “Sacred Heart Church in Paris” shows a strong expressionist style. The long overlapping lines and the red-green tone in the outdoor light make the whole picture always stay flowing, surging with full enthusiasm of Van Gogh style. Whether it was the buildings and trees on both sides of the street, or the people walking in the middle of the street, the painter kept the main features of the objects through a brief outline of the brush strokes and discarded the redundant lines, seeming messy yet catching the essence. Lin Fengmian Lin Fengmian, Recalling, TemperaLin Fengmian’s “Recalling” created in 1920 is a tempera work and was firstly included in the book Beauty of Body republished by Guanghua Bookstore in 1929. In Lin Fengmian’s early creation, it is a very rare work depicting the woman in a realistic way. Through comparative studies, scholars have concluded that the model in the painting was Lin Fengmian’s wife in France. This work was completed by Lin Fengmian in the imagination, expressing his deep yearning for his wife. Nearly a hundred years later after the creation, this work has returned to the overall vision of the development of Chinese modern art, which has filled in the major gap in the sequence and historical research data of Lin Fengmian’s works at present. Lin Fengmian, Beautiful Lady, Colored ink on paper, 75x73cmIn this work, the lines used by Lin Fengmian rarely show the shadow of traditional literati paintings and his expression techniques and painting styles are concise and straightforward, using few strokes to deliver a richer connotation. Wu Dayu Wu Dayu, Jing Rhyme, Oil on board, 64x45cm 1950 Wu Dayu (1903-1988) was from Jiangsu province and went to France to study Western painting and sculpture from 1922 to 1927. At that time, academic art was still the style of École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris, and it was also a period when the Paris painting world was most influenced by Cezanne as well as other modern painting styles such as Fauvism, Cubism and Abstractionism. Wu Dayu’s oil paintings usually present a Chinese style of color and light effect with the techniques of French Impressionism. “Shixiang (momentum and image), Guangse (light and color), and Yundiao (rhyme and tone)” are creative vocabularies used exclusively on Wu Dayu. “Guangse” refers to the understanding of color, “Yundiao” means the grasp of the artistic charm of the work, and “Shixiang” is a kind of irresistible grand momentum shown on the basis of “Guangse” and “Yundiao”. In 1940, the presentation of “Shixiang” also became an important symbol of Wu Dayu’s exploration of abstract art. Wu Dayu created abstract artworks that could rival contemporary Western masters, and built his own complete art system, filling in a long-term blank in the history of Chinese modern art with his own art history. Wu GuanzhongWu Guanzhong, Autumn in Aiwan Pavilion, Oil on canvas, 94x55cm, 1970 Wu Guanzhong, Snow of Beijing, Oil on canvas, Oil on canvas, 100x90cm, 1994In 1946, with excellent performance, Wu Guanzhong earned the opportunity to study in Paris, France at public expense, which opened the door to his art world. He originally planned to make a great career in France and never return to the homeland. However, by chance, he saw what Van Gogh wrote to his brother, “you might say, there are flowers in Paris, and you can also blossom and bear fruit. However, you are the wheat, and your place is in the wheat field. Only by planting in the soil of home, can you take root and sprout. Don’t be self-contained and waste your life in Paris.” It was this sentence that deeply woke up Wu Guanzhong when he was indulging in the bustling world. In 1949, the news of the founding of new China reached France, and Wu Guanzhong resolutely set foot on the journey home. Before the returning, he wrote to his teacher Mr. Wu Dayu, “The study of art is not in Europe, not in Paris, and not in the studio of the masters, but in the motherland, in hometown, and in my heart. I will go back home and start from scratch.” All these stories and their patriotic spirit as well as respecting moralities let us pay deep respect to these predecessors.  Fang Junbi Fang Junbi, Beginner’s Mind, Oil on canvas, 129.5x96.5cm, 1961There exist only few Fang Junbi’s oil paintings and most of which are ink paintings. It is really precious that this exhibition displays five oil paintings of him at the same time. The “Beginner’s Mind” is a portrait painting that Fang Junbi was most good at, and it depicts two monks standing side by side and performing the ritual of Buddha, with their peaceful expression making people refreshing. Among them, the elder one was the eminent Japanese monk, Suzuki Shunryu, who was the first major Japanese monk to introduce Zen to the Western world and had moved to San Francisco, the United States in the 1950s. At this time, Fan Junbi also lived in the United States, and a chance encounter led him to listen to Suzuki’s class and thus forged a good friendship with him. Fang Junbi painted two portraits of Suzuki altogether, and this one is the larger one. The painter successfully captured the charm of the two monks through drawing lines of Chinese painting. Also, the use of large color blocks, thick colors and clear contrast in the picture result in a glamour of oriental culture. Zhou Bichu Zhou Bichu, Indonesia Volcanic Field, Oil on canvas, 73x100cm, 1954Zhou Bichu believed that we should love life, explore the secrets of nature, and discover the beauty and artistic taste from life and nature, so as to apply them into creation. In his works, he blended in the elements of dots and lines of Chinese painting, drew on the charm of Chinese painting, and combined them with oil painting skills, so that people could feel the tranquility and deep conception, which also helped him form his own unique artistic style.In the “Indonesia Volcanic Field”, he demonstrated his good master of color being leisurely and full of personality. He didn’t use strong contrasting colors, nor did he emphasize light and shadow, instead, he paid attention to reducing the relations of color levels and adjusted the subtle differences between the intermediate colors so that the viewers could feel the brightness under the sun visually. Meanwhile, the overall grey tone creates a hazy atmosphere full of tiny droplets in the air and delivers the delicate environmental and climatic characteristics of the local place, revealing his supreme skills. In terms of brushwork, the short and distinct strokes are contrasted with the color blocks for highlighting some parts and forming a tension of the layers. Hu Shanyu Hu Shanyu, Canna, Oil on canvas, 65x54.3cm, 1942Hu Shanyu was admitted to Hangzhou National College of Art in 1929, and before the graduation, he soon entered École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris for further study due to his outstanding talent. He studied under famous painters Rosian Simon and Gustave Moreau who had inherited the academic school of painting and made significant achievements in the last century. His oil paintings of portrait and still life were once selected for the Paris Salon. For many years, he had concentrated on the study of the fine tradition of Western European oil painting and was obsessed with the national aesthetic and artistic techniques of Oriental characteristics for presenting the colorful life. The most excellent part of his work is “Western form, Oriental charm”, as he dared to use pink and white color to build a space and used to leave a part to draw lines in elaborate colors. With vivid and simple artistic language, rich and bright color, and meaningful and elegant conception, his painting has distinctive characteristics. Xu Beihong once said, “A painter with an excellent grasp of color is rarely seen”, and Hu Shanyu can be called “A master of color language”. Hu Shanyu was very particular about the use of color. He once made his own pigments and studied and summarised the rules of using color. He believed that every color in the painting should not be isolated. In the “Canna”, Hu Shanyu’s essence of using color is embodied to the extreme. This painting was created in 1942 and was a very exquisite still life masterpiece among his early works. Huang Xianzhi Huang Xianzhi, Cherries in White Background, Oil on canvas, 1963In 1929, Huang Xianzhi was admitted to Huangzhou National College of Art to study Western painting. In the spring of 1931, he went to Paris to study abroad at his own expense. Regarding Huang Xianzhi’s oil painting style, it stresses the layout and has a profound artistic conception; the objects were shaped precisely and vividly; also, it pays attention to the overall effect of large blocks of color, with rich and delicate changes, showing exquisite techniques and lasting visual enjoyment. Huang Xianzhi believed that the placing of objects was the key to still life painting, and it needed repeated thinking and trying to best reflect the artistic conception of the objects. Therefore, every time before painting, Huang Xianzhi would spend quite a lot of time and energy to study objects and think about how to place them. Looking at his paintings can let people always feel a distinct thematic rhythm and a whole picture, instead of a messy impression of “piecing things together”. The “Cherries in White Background” was created in 1963 and was one of Huang Xianzhi’s satisfied works. This one uses the perspective of looking down to present a simple and refreshing picture with slightly-colored white background, white porcelain, and red cherries. The fruits overflowing from the white porcelain plate spread all over the picture, bringing the audience joyful feelings of harvest and sweetness. The background of the work resembles the table for still life painting yet is also similar to the white space of Chinese painting, which obviously drew on the white ground of Chinese painting, called “Leaving white space for the black lines”. However, as for the oil painting that is good at expressing with color, other colors are as important as white color. Here, the “white background” is not a simple “blank” as it changes from “warm white” to “cold white” from the bottom up, creating a subtle and real spatial effect. Huang Xianzhi practiced his exploration for “the nationalization of oil painting” with “colored white”, expression of “between similar or not”, delicate “composition” of the picture, and even the “positive life spirit”. Pang Xunqin Pang Xunqin, Son of the Earth, Watercolor on paper, 45×37.2cm, 1934When it comes to Pang Xunqin’s painting art, it is often classified as Modernism art or decorative arts. Although when some scholars talk about Pang Xunqin’s integration of Chinese and Western art, they often refer to his later works. However, from the perspective of his painting art career as a whole, his combination of Chinese and Western painting has been generated since he was studying in France in the 1920s, and by the 1940s, it was developed mature with clear clues, without any doubt. The “Son of the Earth” is a piece of work that Pang Xunqin spent a few months to create when he felt touched by the drought happened in southern China, where the land cracked, and people lived in misery. It was also one of his most important representative works. According to Mr. Pang, the well-built couple in the painting is a symbol of China and the dying child is a metaphor for the Chinese people at that time. He adopted simplified and elongated body descriptions, large areas of flat painting, two-dimensional and decorative style to show the simplicity and strength. Pang Xunqin, A Tang Lady Doing Ribbon Dance, Watercolor on silk, 82.5×62cm, 1942The work “A Tang Lady Doing Ribbon Dance” is a highlight of the exhibition, as many scholars have never seen the original before. His use of line drawing in the work was exquisite and lively, and his sublime skills reached to the point of perfection, which was appreciated by the art world at that time, known as “a natural beauty of art and a wonder in the art world”. Fu Lei, who specialized in art criticism when studying abroad in France, raved about the work, “Xunqing’s line drawing contains oriental temperament, is one of the best of contemporary line drawing.” Zhang Xian Zhang Xian (1893-1936), along with Lin Fengmian, Xu Beihong and others successively, went to study in France at their own expense in the early 1920s, and he was admitted to École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris to study Western painting. Later, he and Ni Yide and others founded “Storm Society”, expressing their disgust with all the old forms, old colors, and that they would use new ideas and techniques to present the spirit of the new era. In the 1930s, Zhang Xian was a rare figure in China, but now, few people have heard of his name. His works are simple in color and line but look very solid and steady. Because he had developed his own drawing skills with the pen, and when it was used in color painting, he could draw the whole object with a few strokes. In the impression of Pang Xunqin, “Zhang Xian has studied in France and after he came back, he mainly drew characters with the line drawing. His oil paintings of characters have pure colors and show his unique style. Personally, I appreciate his oil paintings of portraits, but he is known to very few people.” It is a good chance to see his only surviving six works in this exhibition.Some Chinese artists studying in France had lived all their lives abroad, walking on the boundary of the exchanges between Chinese and Western culture. While blending themselves into the development of Western art, they also became the windows to display and promote Chinese art to the world. Through the exploration by several generations of artists studying in France, there opened up a way to combine Chinese and Western art, and thus enriched the dimension of modern art. Pan Yuliang Pan Yuliang’s oil paintings, whether it is bearing, culture or techniques, are unmatched among the early female oil paintings in China. Her painting style is basically based on the impressionist technique of playing natural lights and then integrated with her feelings and talents, so her paintings are not affected or delicate but reveal a sense of fortitude, and neat strokes and bold colors made the picture very beautiful. Her paintings always let people have a kind of undisguised emotion, and her bold characteristics and artistic pursuit are fully demonstrated in her delightful brushwork and colors. She was a born artist. What distinguished her from other oil painters was that she had been involved in all kinds of art forms and was highly accomplished: landscape, figure, still life, sculpture, print, Chinese painting. Besides, she audaciously explored different types of art schools and had excellent performance in them, from traditional Realism, modern Impressionism to modern painting, and even the blended Chinese and Western art style. Among them, impressionist techniques and Oriental artistic sentiment were the two bases of her painting evolution, and thus formed the trajectory of her artistic development. These portrait paintings have never been displayed together before. In the work “Female Nude Beside the Window”, the artist painted the woman having blackish red on the face and looking slightly drunk and shy. Against the traditional female body with white skin, she employed bronze and red-brown color to express the beauty of the healthy female body as well as the strength bursting out of her tenderness. The lines of the work are simple and bold, with a sense of Fauvism and strong subjective feelings, which also contributed to the taste of the naked woman’s misty thoughts shown between the slightly raised eyebrows.  The “Four Beauties After the Bath” is a milestone-like representative work of Pan Yuliang in her transition period. The group image of the bathing girls has a touch of paying tribute to a few Western impressionist master predecessors, and the momentum and pattern unfolded in this work are also magnificent. The work shows the influence brought by impressionist pointillism, as the picture is painted with slight color, and takes rose color as the background, along with the color and shape of the bathing girls and cushion, giving off the flavor of the Fauvism painter Matisse. However, the lines used in the painting draw on the tradition of Oriental art – Tie Xian Yin Gou (vigorous and beautiful lines), which inherited the tradition of delicacy and charm produced in Chinese calligraphy to outline the female bodies, showing both their graceful curves and resolute quality. The original integration and innovation have formed a unique style of Pan Yuliang. From her painting techniques, it can be seen that Pan Yuliang’s art at that time showed a gradual fade out of exploring Western painting and began to present her personal and independent aesthetic. Chang Yu Chang Yu, Woman in RedChang Yu was born in a wealthy merchant family in Sichuan in1900. At the age of 19, he went to France with Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian, and others to study on a work-study basis. He died impoverished in 1966 due to the gas leakage in his studio in Paris. He didn’t enjoy the same fame as others when he was alive and walked lonely throughout his art career. Some people view him as a Chinese Modigliani, and others compare him to “a Chinese potting planted in Paris”. His life was sober as his words, clear and full of powerlessness. He once wrote, “we can’t follow the times, our bodies are fragile, and our lives are too short.” His works often leave an unforgettable impression: pure, spotless, without redundant strokes and decoration. He said that people should live out their own life and be honest. The “Woman in Red” reveals the breath of life he wanted to express. In the painting, the woman looks at people with one eye, thoughtful and reluctant to speak out. There is also a dismissive expression between her eyebrows, giving out an overwhelming solitude and freshness. Zhu Dequan, a painter travelling in France, described Chang Yu in this way, “Chang Yu is worth of a pious and faithful artist who had undertaken the responsibilities of his time. From the standpoint of the Chinese people, we should recognize his achievements and give him new comments on the development history of Chinese and Western painting.”  Zhao Wuji Zhao Wuji, 1.12.64, Oil on canvas, 130x89cm, 1964Zhao Wuji entered Hangzhou National College of Art in 1935 and went to study in France in 1948, and then settled in France. He combined the Western modern painting forms and color techniques of oil painting with traditional Chinese culture and was known as a representative of the modern Western Lyrical Abstraction. He was called “Zhao Whisky” in the art circle in Paris, which means two things: one is that he drunk heavily, and the other is that he could afford Whisky. Perhaps because his good family background brought him confidence, Zhao Wuji knew that Montparnasse was a place where French artistes gathered and rented a house there when he just came to France. His studio in the south of France was once adjacent to Picasso’s house, and he kept a good friendship with this 80-year-old man. He had also been the neighbor of the world-famous sculpture artist Giacometti for 17 years. These people had a profound influence on his creation. From his works, it can be seen the tension of traditional Chinese culture bursting forth, which made Chinese and Western art reach a high degree of agreement and integration in the spirit.At this point, we have introduced the highlight artworks in the main exhibition of “Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art (1911-1949)”.Ture, as Fan Di’an, President of CAFA and the Chief curator of this exhibition, said, “How big an exhibition of Chinese artist studying in France should be for a full presentation? It is almost unimaginable because many of their works are in art history books, in art galleries and even in museums of foreign countries. However, this exhibition has already taken on a certain scale, supported heavily by dozens of public and private art museums as well as individual collectors. As a result, the exhibition not only has a number of classic works that we are familiar with but also have many works that have not been displayed in public before, which constitutes a brand-new look of this show. The general audience can appreciate the exhibition, while scholars can have chances to study them. Despite many works and literature cannot be retrieved due to historical reasons, the purpose, content, and structure of this exhibition can let people review the modern value of Chinese art from the dynamic process of international art.” ...More
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