Monday, February 1, 2010

Tracing the Past: Art Exhibit

"Tracing the Past, Drawing the Future: Master Ink Painters in 20th-Century China," an exhibit of Cheng Man-ch'ing's elder colleagues works will be held at Stanford University in California.

The exhibit presents more than 110 works, in two rotations, February 17 through July 4, 2010. Admission is free. “This landmark exhibition illuminates a turning point in the development of Chinese ink painting during the 20th-century,” explained Dr. Xiaoneng Yang, the Cantor Arts Center’s Patrick J. J. Maveety Curator of Asian Art. “Drawing upon paintings and calligraphy on loan from Chinese collections new to American audiences, the exhibition presents monumental portraits, vibrant bird-and-flower painting, and spectacular landscapes by Wu Changshuo (1844–1927), Qi Baishi (1864–1957), Huang Binhong (1865–1955), and Pan Tianshou (1897–1971). Collectively known in China as the ‘Four Great Masters of Ink Painting,’ these artists faced the dual challenges of negotiating the impact of encounters with the West, while inventing new directions for long-held practices of ink painting.”
A fully illustrated catalogue with scholarly essays in English accompanies the exhibition, including two introductory essays and essays on each artist. Full entries, translated from Chinese, accompany images of the works in the exhibition.
An international symposium, "The Politics of Culture and the Arts in Early 20th-Century China" will be held February 19–21. Cosponsored by Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, Center for East Asian Studies, and Department of Art and Art History, the symposium is open free to scholars and the public."

Cheng Man-ch'ing was well acquainted with these men as colleagues in the Shanghai art scene, the art colleges, and painting societies. Wu Changshuo wrote a colophon for Cheng's 1924 album and praised the young Cheng highly. We can see an influence of Wu and Qi Baishi on Cheng Man-ch'ing's painting.

Painting by Wu Changshuo
Flower and Vegetables album:
Narcissus, Eggplant, Grapevines, Lotus, Chrysanthemum, 1904.
Album Leaves. Ink and colors on silk. Zhejiang Provincial Museum.

Reproduced with permission.