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

2019-01-21 1176 people interested

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

Who Was Zheng Jin? ...

2019-01-03 688 people interested

Zheng Jin, a famous artist and art educator, was appointed as the first Principal of the Beijing Art School in 1918 and an important pioneer of modern Chinese art education.Art Chronology of Zheng Jin1883         On the 21st day of the first lunar month, he was born in Sanxiang Yongmo village, Xiangshan, Guangdong (now Zhongshan). His father was Yu Chigong who good at painting.1888         He studied at a village school.1897         He followed his sister to move from Xiangshan to Yokohama, Japan and entered Datong School. He went after Liang Qichao, Lin Huiru, Zhong Zuojing and Zhang Yutao and had traveled for three years.1901         He graduated from middle school.1902         He went to Tokyo to study Western painting.1907         He enrolled at the Kyoto City University of Arts to learn painting skills.1910         On the 14th day of the second lunar month, he married Bao Guie in Yokohama, Japan.1911         He graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts, specializing in Japanese Painting. Then he went to study at Kyoto City Art School and learned landscape painting with Yamamoto Shunkyo. He lived with Chen Shuren and Bao Shaoyou in Kyoto.1913        His work “Grace” was selected in the 7th Art Exhibition of Japanese Ministry of Education. He first met Gao Jianfu and Gao Qifeng.1914       His work “Waiting for Dawn” was displayed at the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition. He graduated from Kyoto City Art School. His graduation work “Parrot” (also known as “Leisure”) was purchased and collected by the school. After returning to China, he lived in Gongmenkou, Xizhimen in Beijing.Zheng Jin, Self-portrait, about 1915, Oil paintingZheng Jin and his family in Gongmenkou1915        He went to Tianjin to visit Liang Qichao, and Liang Qichao wrote an article “Introduction of Works by Zheng Jin” for Zheng Jin. He brought the article to visit Zhang Yilin. He taught graphic design in Beijing Higher Normal School.1917        He organized and established an art school under the order of the Ministry of Education and started to recruit students in 1918. He was appointed as Director of Beijing Art School by the Ministry of Education.The main entrance of the auditorium of the Beijing Art School1918       On April 15, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Art School was held in the Qianjingjidao, Xicheng, and then Chief Education Minister Fu Zengxiang, Vice-minister Yuan Xitao, Cai Yuan Pei, President of Peking University, and headmasters of other national institutions of higher education in Beijing as well as many guests attended the ceremony. At the same year, the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of the higher education department and higher normal department in Beijing Art School.1919        He served as the tutor of the “Painting Research Association” of Peking University and taught watercolor.1920        With Chen Shizeng, Xiao Junxian, Wang Mengbai, Yao Hua, Wu Ling and other teachers of Western painting, he organized “Huayin Art Association” and created “Magnolia and Peacock”.A group photo of “Chinese Art Association”, including Chen Shizeng (the second from left), Zheng Jin (the first from right), etc.1922         The Ministry of Education appointed Zheng Jin as the Principal of Beijing Art School and issued the school seal. On November 10, the school held a special school celebration, in which then Chief Education Minister Tang Erhe, Vice-minister Cai Yuanpei, and principals of other seven national institutions as well as many guests were present.1923         He cooperated with Gao Shuda, and painted illustrations for a set of four copies of “Thousand Characters for a Civilian Class” of the “China Civilian Education Promotion Association”.1924         He resigned as Principal of Beijing Art School.1927        With an invitation from Yan Yangchu, Zheng Jin was employed by “China Civilian Education Promotion Association” to host the “Intuitive Audiovisual Education Department”. He moved to the countryside, Ding county, Hebei province to promote the civilian education movement. The Ministry of Education of Beiyang government changed the name of “Beijing Art School” into “National Art School”.Zheng Jin’s residence outside Ding county, Hebei provinceA corner of Zheng Jin’s house in Ding county, Hebei province1928          His work Civilian Education and Civilian Art was published by Shanghai Commercial Press.1936          He was invited by Sun Zhesheng, Wu Tiecheng, Yang Ziyi from the Guangdong Provincial Government, to return to his hometown in Zhongshan county, and became the president for the “Rural Construction Committee of Zhongshan County”.1937          The Anti-Japanese War broke out, and he arranged his family to return to his hometown from Beijing. He created “Eagles Fighting”.1940          He took refuge in Bao Shaoyou’s home in Baishi village, Zhongshan county. After the fall of Zhongshan, he moved to Macao and lived at Gaoshide road. He created “Hoofbeat in the Forest” and “Strong Wind in the Green”.Zheng Jin in Hong Kong, 1941 Zheng Jin and Zhao Shaoang, 1941 A group photo of Zheng Jin, Bao Shaoyou and others, 19411941         “Zheng Jiongchang’s Painting Exhibition” was held in No.32, Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga, in Macao. “Zheng Jiongchang’s Charity Exhibition” was opened at Macao Chamber of Commerce. He created “Washing” and “Picking Chrysanthemums under the Eastern Fence”.1943          In Winter, he began to collect pictures of horses for the creation of “Spring Returning to the Earth”.1944           He moved to Zheng Huixi House, near Puji Temple to paint, and because the picture was too large, he returned to Ren Xinan’s place in Erlonghou to frame “Spring Returning to the Earth”.1945        “Zheng Jiongchang Exhibition” was held at Macao Rio Hotel. He created “Peach-blossom Face”, “Bouncy Deers in Spring”, “The Old Tree Greeting the Spring”, “Swan on Autumn Water”, “Spring in the Southern Area”. He moved to Qingzhou.1946          After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, he returned to Zhongshan and served as head of Sanzhou township and principal of Central National School.1948          He resigned as head of the township and painted at home.1949          He resigned as principal of Central National School. 1952          He was issued with a Macao identity card and signed as Zheng Yunquan.1955          He created “Beautiful Peacocks in the Pine Forest”.1956          He participated in “Macao Art Research Association”.1957          He painted “White Chicken in Spring Garden”, “Comb of Meleagrididae”, etc.1958          He made “Contending in Beauty”, “Two Cranes in the Morning”, “Stop Playing Music in the Pavilion”, “Two Standing Kings”, “Beautiful Peacocks in Autumn Garden”, “Swimming Fishes and Singing Birds”, “Picking Lychee”, etc.Exhibition site of Zheng Jin’ final works after his death. From left to right: Luo Xiandu, Luo Deji, Madame Bao, Zheng Meicheng, Huo Baocai, Bao Shaoyou, Fang Shouhong, Miss Bao, Miss Bao, Bao Huixian.1959            On March 28, he died in Macao Jinghu Hospital. On June 15, an exhibition of Zheng Jiongchang’s works was held at St. John Church in Hong Kong.1997          His third daughter Zheng Meicheng donated his father’s collection of famous paintings and calligraphy, a total of 13 pieces, to the Taipei Palace Museum.2001              The Department of Culture and Sports of Macao Provisional Municipal Council organized “A Memory Exhibition of Zheng Jiongchang” in Macao.Excerpt from: Chen Jichun, Zheng Jin Art Research ...More

An Interpretation of Song Yuanwen’s Artistic Career of Printmaking from 50 Works...

2018-12-19 925 people interested

Song Yuanwen is a cross-century artist who inherited the essence of the new Chinese woodcut and initiated the spirit of contemporary printmaking. He also made significant contributions to the teaching of printmaking in CAFA and the development of contemporary Chinese printmaking. He has studied under emerging representatives of printmaking such as Li Hua, Gu Yuan, Huang Yongyu and other leading masters. Professor Song Yuanwen is already 80 years old, but he is still devoted to the expansion and research of printmaking language. His works, “Spring Flood”, “Rondo”, “A Place Where Wild Flowers Bloom” and “Across the Sky” have been exhibited in the 9th, the 10th, the 11th and the 12th National Prints Exhibition, Another work “A Flock of Birds Searching for Home” was selected into the 8th National Art Exhibition, and his works have been collected by many essential art galleries and institutions at home and abroad. ...More

Fan Di’an: Learn From the Heart, and Pursue Both Art and Virtue...

2018-12-14 558 people interested

In the complex cultural circumstance, Mr. Li Hu adhered to the reform of Chinese painting, insisted on the integration of Chinese and Western painting skills, explored the transformation from classical to realistic language, and created a large number of works with the features of the times and cultural creativity, leaving a rich and precious academic heritage for modern Chinese painting. ...More

Wang Huaxiang: The Master of A Generation – Song Yuanwen...

2018-12-11 571 people interested

Mr. Song Yuanwen’s large-scale solo exhibition is about to unveil, with a full display of his works and his artistic career. Mr. Song’s generation lived in a world where today’s young person may don’t understand, so that they may don’t necessarily have an accurate understanding of their art as well. ...More

Fan Di’an Addressing “Song Yuanwen’s Solo Exhibition”: Take a Broad Vision to Set a Model for Printmaking ...

2018-12-11 602 people interested

Mr. Song Yuanwen is a grandmaster fostered by new Chinese art education. During decades of artistic creation and art education career, with his great efforts of making an outstanding performance in printmaking and abundant achievement in imparting knowledge and educating people, he has made a significant contribution to the development of Chinese printmaking as well as the teaching of printmaking in CAFA. On the occasion of both the centenary anniversary of CAFA and the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up, we solemnly hold a large-scale art exhibition of Mr. Song Yuanwen, which is not only the best way to show and understand his artistic accomplishments, but also to better inherit and carry forward the excellent traditions of the elder generation of artists. With the spirit of selfless dedication, Mr. Song Yuanwen donated a large number of works to the university at the time of the exhibition, which is permanently collected by the university art museum, reflecting the high ideological level of an excellent communist party member artist and educator. His act of donation and the spectacle of the exhibition will become an essential record of the centennial celebration of CAFA. Home-returning Birds After Sunset, 2018Mr. Song Yuanwen was born in a farming family in northeast China. He has been longing for art since he was a child. He took part in revolutionary work when he was still a boy, thus setting up a revolutionary outlook on life and forming a pure belief that art serves the people. After entering CAFA, he rapidly developed his art techniques and made achievements in several fields, such as watercolor, illustration and printmaking. From the mid-1950s to the 1960s, he concentrated on studying creation traditions of printmaking and meanwhile paid more attention to explore innovation. With a large number of thematic creations of revolutionary history and works reflecting the construction of the new China’s socialism, he showed his talents and initially formed the artistic style of his personality, especially the creation method of integrating realism and romanticism. He laid emphasis on in-depth life, and through prints describing the production scene of workers and farmers, with bright and fresh print language to eulogize labor and new social climate. He also created a series of works full of revolutionary passion for expressing the atmosphere of the times and the aspirations of the people, such as the illustration for the novel Rainstorm, the series of works of “Battle Drum at the Equator” and so on. His works reflect the distinct characteristics of the times with a strong black and white relationship, rigorous image-building, and the form and rhythm of the picture. He combined the description of labor scenes with the symbolic expression refined and generalized from life, and conducted a profound exploration into the art form of printmaking and its technical language, adding new brilliance to the creation of new China’s printmaking. River Snow in the Spring, 1998Reform and opening up enabled China to usher in a new era for the development and construction of the society, and also brought new opportunities for the prosperity and advancement of Chinese literature and art. Mr. Song Yuanwen began a new creative journey with his keen artistic consciousness. He warmly welcomed the arrival of the spring of reform and opening up, and expressed his ambitions to sing the praises of the era, portray life and reveal the emotions for the people. Based on the experience of life in the northeast, he communicated closely with the group of printmaking artists in the Great Northern Wilderness and produced a large quantity of new works to present the boundless landscape and the scene of labor production in northern area, among which, “The Sleepless Earth”, “Chanty of Wusuli River”, “Summer”, “White Mountain and Black Water” and other works all express his deep feelings for the black land and also indicate his grasp of the natural scenery and labor spirit. These print works and his watercolor works during the same period opened a new window to show something from reality yet beyond reality. With a brand-new art style using threads of life while focusing on creating artistic conception, his spiritual pursuit is transformed into pure poetic lyricism through carving, and the pictures he created are rich in extended space, open sky, and vast horizon, in which forest trees, trailing geese in the sky, and the reed by the riverside weaved into a visual rhythm, arousing people a kind of soothing emotion. The poetic expression also mirrors the new development of Chinese society in the period of reform and opening up, particularly the features of the new era in terms of cultural connotation. After the havoc of the Cultural Revolution, the recovery of the human spirit required good image and lyric conception, and the restoration of society also needed poetic comfort. It was in this historical moment that Mr. Song Yuanwen showed the large picture of the landscape of China with a broad mind and revealed rich humanistic connotation by the refined language of printmaking, becoming a Chinese literary singer of the age of reform and opening up. His works have exerted a profound influence in printmaking and art circles. A Flock of Birds Searching for Home, 1991Mr. Song Yuanwen regards ordinary people as the natural parents whom he relies on and his artistic creation as a feedback to the people, which is an artistic spirit that has always been dominating his art practice. From the 1980s until his late life, his artistic steps have been significant and determined, and with a combination of realism and symbolism, he extracted the language of aesthetic form from real life and contributed many new works to the painting circle. His creation passion was very vigorous, thus leading to an increasingly mature printmaking language. Mr. Song Yuanwen has been teaching at CAFA since he graduated from its Department of Printmaking. He has always been educating people with the spirit of modesty and gentleman, benefiting the future students, and is engaged in education and teaching by a rigorous and meticulous method. From 1986 to 1993, he served as the director of the Department of Printmaking. Based on the teaching of printmaking pioneered by a sequence of predecessors, he further expanded the teaching pattern, strengthened the discipline construction and the studio teaching mechanism, and enriched the teaching content. At the same time, he added photography, design and composition and other subjects as the supplement, and integrated the teaching of creation techniques of various print types, so that the teaching of the Department of Printmaking can embody more the law of art education. He attached great importance to the training of difficulty, accuracy, capability and quality in teaching, especially paid attention to reinforcing the teaching of creation, and encouraged young students to absorb and draw on advantages of foreign art, take an intensive study into cultural traditions, and insist on going into the thick of life, which enabled the talents of the Department of Printmaking to catch up with the development of the times, both showing the central theme of Chinese literature and art on the creation topics and encouraging the exploration and innovation of the ontology Language of art, thus quite a lot of outstanding artistic talents have been cultivated. The Spring Brew in the Winter Snow, 2018In the development process of Chinese art welcoming its new cultural context, Mr. Song Yuanwen has laid emphasis on the cultural value and ontological research of printmaking, and united teachers of the Department of Printmaking with many printmakers with a modest mind, sparing no effort for the construction of the Department of Printmaking of CAFA and the development of Chinese printmaking. In the late years when he left his post, he was still concerned about the construction and development of the university, the discipline building and academic activities of the Department of Printmaking. With his rich experience in artistic creation and printmaking education, he continues to play his role in the advancement of Chinese printmaking and present his art belief and life state with a beginner’s mind.Mr. Song Yuanwen’s exhibition opens a colorful world for us, and his elevated feelings and broad realm demonstrated in his artistic world set up an artistic style of both professional excellence and moral integrity.Fan Di’an, Director of CAFADecember 2018 ...More

Su Xinping: The Preface of the Exhibition “Research for Song Yuanwen”...

2018-12-11 1376 people interested

Modern Chinese printmaking started in the revolutionary years of the 1920s and 1930s. The new woodcut tradition passed down from generation to generation forged a large number of brave and committed soldiers of literature and art in printmaking. As an artist and art educator who has made outstanding contributions to printmaking and art education since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Song Yuanwen was known to the world under such a historical background. From Mr. Song, we can feel the clear pulsation of the lifeline of modern Chinese art constructed by predecessors such as Li Hua, Gu Yuan, Huang Yongyu, Zhou Lingzhao and so on. ...More

Zhang Zikang: The Nature of the Art Museum...

2018-11-09 1290 people interested

To define the nature of the art museum is to understand its identity, affiliation, role, function and regulation pattern. Therefore, accurately positioning the art museum is the most critical issue to be faced and solved at the current stage of the development of art museums in China.Any suggestion we have for the problems (system, organization, market, etc.) that arise in Chinese art, or even for the inheritance of Chinese traditional culture and the development of contemporary culture, is all stem from the fact that Chinese society (our government, our public, our culture and artistic workers) has not recognized – on thought and action – the nature of the art museum and its important role in the whole ecosystem, such as artistic ecology, social ecology, political ecology, human ecology, and so on. The value and significance of the art museum can be only guaranteed if the nature of the art museum is clear enough. On this basis, Chinese art system can be expected to be improved, and the highly anticipated preferential policies of the government on the development of art can become possible.The Durability of Society and Culture“Archives, libraries and museums promise a secular eternity that can replace the religious commitment to resurrection and immortality. (Boris Groys)” Art museum is also a Heterotopias named by Michel Foucault as a place where valuable time experienced by human beings is accumulated without being lost. In an increasingly event-driven culture, the core qualities of an art institution should be sustainability and heritage inheritance. The French historian and museologist Lorena San Roman once said, “the museum is like a mirror. It reflects the past and present progress and development of the society, and the combination with other social development, thus affecting the whole world.” The museum aims to connect different time and space to let us know what the world looks like, let people in the long history of mankind give themselves a precise orientation, and help people to think about the future. Every era needs a witness. The birth of the museum of modern art (MoMA) of New York is in the early 20th century, which is the precipitation of contemporary art of the era. Today, our contemporary art museums are also performing the same function of the times.An art museum is a carrier for the dissemination, inheritance and construction of social culture, and is an essential part of people’s social and cultural life. “For art, style, technique and material are indeed very essential elements, but having these conditions does not mean that it has reached a high artistic conception. The most important thing is the concepts and ideals behind it. Just like science and technology, these concepts and ideals are rooted in nation, Zeitgeist and worldview. Works are the most authentic only if they can be rooted in these ideas.”Therefore, it can be said that art museum represents the highest value and truth of different social groups because the character of the museums (art museums) of a nation, country and city also represents the character of the nation, country and city. Democracy, Publicity, Diversity and the Non-profit“Museum is the midwife of democracy. (Francis Henry Taylor)” From the history of museum development, setting in the political context as the feudal monarchy died out, being based on the spirit of equality and showing royal and private (nobility, church and temple) family’s collection to the public as a sign of birth, museum has represented an object-centered, more comprehensive new way of understanding the world, and a force of human democracy and civilization, becoming the typical characteristic of the human into the modern society. In Western societies, one of the basic guarantees of democracy to the public interest is the social education that represented by museums – art education is not only freely enjoyed by the natives but by everyone. “Museum itself is considered  as an important and motivating part in the democratic American society where all people are equal, which is the fundamental source of museum authority.” “The art museum sees itself as a positive intermediary for promoting social equality. Through professional activities related to, such as collection, research and presentation, art museums connect human beings with the broader social reality, and stimulate and facilitate a democratic, reflective, creative and inclusive society with aesthetic objects and intellectual power.” At the same time, in Western societies, “participation is regarded as the cultural power of everyone and an indispensable part of the museum’s characteristics, which means that everyone has the right to know his or her own cultural identity, to link with other cultures, to participate in cultural events, to possess equal opportunities for creativity and to criticize freely.The main characteristics pursued by visual art not only enabled a perfect combination of art and museum but also fully shaped the democratic character of the art museum, thus making it a public and diversified platform. (1) The transferability of art makes the art museum have a natural pubic gene. Hannah Arendt thinks “the word ‘public’……first represents all the people who are present in public domains and enjoy the most openness of being visible and heard……Then, the word ‘public’ describes the world itself we all share yet in which individuals highlight different personal status.” Art is a visual cultural language and an image of the spirit of the times, closely related to human experience. Although understanding art sometimes requires to have knowledge or cultural background, the body of art – visual images for all those who have seen them – is clear without any communication boundary, and even has advantages of direct communication that go beyond language and character, which is just the reason why image has always been an important tool for religion spread and indoctrination. The art museum, a gathering place centered on art, or mainly through the visual perception, has become the most accessible cultural center for the public. In the extensive, deep and daily interaction of art and the public, the public is more active in receiving art. Art museums have become a public cultural resource, and play a very vital role in public cultural life.(2) The inclusiveness of art makes the art museum a platform for the public. Art is a work in pursuit of differences. The essential thing of art is not to deny the differences between people but to accommodate different voices. Art connects people with distinct views and becomes a platform for exchanging different opinions. The introduction of art into society means that society embraces broader and richer values. As a civic institution, the art museum has become a rare public space that can meet the interests and needs of both the society’s privileged top elite class and more marginalized disadvantaged groups. It ensures that the poor get as much comfort from art as the rich, and brings these two classes more closely connected. The inclusivity of art turns the art museum into a public space of diverse cultures and social integration, making the public art museum –  must be – an institution accountable to a multi-level public. By offering the audience the same opportunities of appreciation, museums can bring a diverse society closer together.(3) In the process of building a modern museum, the choice of “no distinction made between men and women of all ages (by Pidansat de Mairobert)”, the nature of “be open to all (by Ministre de I’interieur Roland)”, and giving anyone the right to appreciate it, directly contributed to the formation of the “public universality (by Li Hui)” of the museum. “Publicity arises from the recognition of individuality in contemporary society” and thus leads to “accessibility”, which refers to the specific content of both physical architecture and spiritual product.It is precisely because the democratic, public and pluralistic nature of museums in their development had become increasingly clear that in 1974, when the World Associations of Museums revised their definition of the museum in 1963, it placed particular emphasis on “opening to the public”, “serving society and social development”  and “not pursuing profits”. Museums are non-profit organizations, so do art museums – a category of museums, which has long been agreed upon around the world. A non-profit organization is generally an institution or organization that is founded in a legal way other than governments, enterprises and other entities. The non-profit organization takes the common welfare of the public as the premise and it does not make the private profit and pursuing profit as the goal. A professor at the Johns Hopkins University, Lester M. Salarmon, has identified five characteristics of non-profit organizations: organized, non-governmental, non-profit, autonomous and voluntary, which is used as the standard of defining internationally popular non-profits. Non-profit organizations thrive as democratic societies continue to improve. In the 1950s in the United States, the role of non-profit organizations was insignificant and marginal. By the 1990s, non-profit organizations have been at the center of American society, becoming one of the most prominent features of American society. People realize that non-profit organizations are not only very significant to the life quality and civil rights of the American people but also carry the value of American society and tradition. Non-profit organizations not only become the civil societies of American society but also empower and enhance individuals’ ability to fulfill their civic duties and realize their own value. Non-profit organizations are also seen as a hallmark of modern civil society.As a part of social public cultural service system, art museums are public welfare units providing public products and services to the whole society. The art museum, of course, as a non-profit organization, does not exclude the necessary existence of profit-making activities, but it strictly prohibits the distribution of its remaining income and profits to the organization owners or specific beneficiaries. In western countries, a relatively well-developed operation system of art society has been formed with “tax exemption” (especially “tax exemption for equal amount”) as the core. Encouraging charity and donation activities provides a good policy environment for the establishment of various foundations and guarantees the operating funds and the independence of non-profit organizations. In this book, we will elaborate on it in combination with the current development state of Chinese art museums.Table 1: The roles and functions of art museums as the non-profit organizations in the country and societyWe don’t deny, of course, that even under a relatively perfect system, and under the constraints of many industry standards centering on public interests and internal management disciplines of art museums, the profit-making (subjectively or objectively serves the direct or indirect business interest) of the art museums in the developed countries is often in the center of public contention. According to Belting, a German scholar, this is mainly due to the combination of museums and contemporary art. In order to avoid entering the tomb of history, the alliance of museums with the current art is almost forced and inevitable – the current art also enhances its own value in the background of museums. Such kind of “symbolic transactions” make “people often ask whether the new art is looking for its museum context or the museum is looking for new art.” Xie Xiaoze, a tenured professor at Stanford University, says that “art museums are usually in the shadow of power and in the infiltration of commerce and wealth. The non-profit character, academic quality and public trust it should possess are not predetermined, but are the results of long-term unremitting efforts.” Art museums, so to speak, for their own development and active shifting to their own democracy, publicity and non-profit character, may lead the intelligent manufacturing system – brought about by the commercial invasion and initiative attachment to private interests – to be disturbed even start to collapse from within art museums. While how the effectiveness of the old constraint mechanism can be demonstrated as widely as possible through improvement, is a common issue faced by global art museums. The scholar, Gan Yang criticized it severely that “culture originally offered a higher standard of lifestyle, beyond people’s commodity fetishism under the market economy condition, so as to develop the possibility of lifestyle spiritually, including personal lifestyle. However, in the last 20 or 30 years, this requirement has been basically abandoned in the West. All the criticism to the advanced culture and the uncritical praises of the mass culture actually only further encouraged the market to dominate the cultural field, resulting in an increasingly lower and vulgar cultural field, because there is no higher standard and positive value pursuit.” For Chinese art museums, this is both a reality and a dilemma, and even an opportunity.Independence and NeutralityIt was not until the 19th century that the concept of art gradually positioned itself as the “artistic” direction in “art museums”. Through the middle ages, after the political chaos, religious oppression and the subsequent war, poverty and anguish, along with the appeal for “anti-feudal, anti-church and anti-autocratic” and the advent of the intellectual light of humanism “democracy, equality and freedom”, “art” and “museum” were born and grown up almost at the same period as the Enlightenment Movement. Because of this, it can be said that the neutrality of religion and politics is a natural gene of “art” and “museum”, and becomes the most important criterion for the art museum.  Or we could put it in another way, “art”, “museum” or “art museum” refer to new “politics” and new “religion” that has been invented by the human being to represent the spirit of the Enlightenment Movement. The core and value of this “politics” and “religion” lie in representing the spiritual field of human beings, spreading value of common social cognition independently, constantly expanding new frontiers for human progress, conducting new experiments and exploring new possibilities.In Western society, the independence and neutrality of art museums mainly refer to the “non-party” characteristics of art museums. In the United States, they are mainly embodied as the characteristics of NGO (non-profit organization), which is closely related to the core of art museums – art itself seeks uniqueness. As a work in pursuit of different, the greatest value of art rest with innovation, no matter in form, method, material, content and concept…… which also does not exclude critical viewpoints. If art takes external demands as its primary purpose, in the end, it will lose its reason for existing. Therefore, we know what makes an artwork separate from the ideology that produces it or gives it a reason to exist. “Art seeks no admiration but respect.” The transcendental art is very likely to fail to accommodate a mature, rigid or closed system in the current era. However, once the independent art point to the future, it will have a spiritual force similar to or even transcend politics and religion, leading human beings to progress in a positive direction. For example, as the father of modernist art, Marcel Duchamp liberated the definition of “art”, and his unconventional art idea – in the form of the famous “urinal”, severely hurt the pride of the High Culture that permeated European art salons. But his revolutionary idea was understood and embraced in the more open America. The American Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is the very institution that pushed his art and representative concept to the top. The forward-looking value made Duchamp the pioneer of modernist art, and also made New York the origin of modern art for its promotion of Duchamp’s idea, and became the center of world art and culture replacing London and Paris. The following art history of the 20th century was almost inseparable from various variations of this idea, and the development of art, orientation, economy and all other aspects after the 20th century always can’t get away from the United States. Duchamp is not American and does not represent the United States, but American art museums promoted the United States that represented by this concept through the confirmation of Duchamp’s academic status, and input this concept value back to Europe, letting the whole world to accept it. From this perspective, we can understand that the history of art acceptance is particularly important, especially for the art of the 20th century. And this is the gold mine that has not been fully understood and developed in the strategy of China’s national art museums. We will further analyze it in later chapters. Furthermore, the independence and neutrality of the art museum are tightly linked to public welfare (non-profit nature) of the art museum itself. The beneficiary of the art museum points to the public in a broad sense. Even if the actions of the art museum can benefit any member of the public or any representative government, organization, institution, group, individual, and so on, its rules of conduct are not subject to any existing interest groups. “The art museum must remain in touch with reality…… to give the public confidence in the integrity of its projects, it must assure them that its projects are the result of academic research based on equality, civility and justice.” In fact, artistic creation usually can’t disengage from the current social and political environment – especially contemporary art, and even closely connected to different types of social interactions. However, the independence of art requires the separation of artistic standards and the direct influence of social life. For art museums, in the process of selecting artworks and participating in the formulation of artistic standards, particularly for the contemporary art, how to “being part of it while staying out of it” and how to stick to intellectual resources and pure professions in the overall social environment are very important, as if the subtle mastery of the boundary is not properly handled, art and art museum will separate from their nature and thus lose the real value of existence. “It is dangerous for museums to engage in larger social or political agendas, which would be divorced from the practice of art history.” Because, once the art museum is subject to the sectarian power and needs to seek safety and security in economic and social status, and aesthetic choice, the art will run away for its own survival. Since the Vietnam war, our so-called politicized art has been steadily withdrawn from museums and galleries, and has gained a foothold on the streets……in a deinstitutionalized context…… in which the younger generation of activists are well aware of the aestheticized potential of seditious bulletins and exploit them. Art museums can be the most inclusive platforms for discussion of art projects involving political disputes and social issues, but these art creation projects themselves should not contain any political purpose. Such a stand of independence and neutrality is also the basic guarantee of the authority of art museums.As mentioned above, the neutrality of art museum in religion and politics does not mean that art museums are not related to politics and government. The universalistic principle of connection and the theory of knowledge ecology tell us that the museum cannot be separated from its historical, natural, social, political and entire ecological environment, and is shaped by them. The museum also changes this system and environment through influencing the viewing, concept, knowledge structure and intellectual experience of people in this ecosystem. It is the universality of connection that highlights the importance of the museum’s independence that emphasized by professionalism in connection. It is also because of the critical position of the museum in the overall ecosystem that its role of neutrality has received increasing recognition from the perspective of professionalism. We stress the independence of the museum neither points to “anti-institution”, nor to the “antithesis of the government” in the view of “extremism” – so it is not really in line with the meaning of neutrality. Even the artists and works that are critical of the government may have a positive display on the country’s cultural inclusion and political image. For instance, during the cold war, the CIA secretly supported artists and exhibition that are critical of the United States through its foundations, aiming to arouse people’s interest and discussion on American culture and art from different perspectives, which fully embodied the openness, tolerance and diversity of American society. In fact, the development of art museums in any country cannot do without the support of the government, and the government of any county cannot avoid the existence of art museums and their functions for having a positive and significant influence on the administration. However, under different governing concepts and modes, the relationship between art museums and the government is different, and it is best to make use of it under the premise of respecting its professional law.According to the research of Lu Juan in the article of “The Cultural Funding Mode of Foreign Government and its Enlightenment to China”, the national governing mode is generally divided into two categories: state-oriented and society-oriented. In the state-oriented mode, the state has the highest decision-making power among the three fields of state, society and market, and it takes an overall intervention in the society. While the society-oriented mode is just the opposite, as within it the state is only a kind of social organization, and is subordinate compared to society, with a very limited role. Different national governance modes have different tendencies in the ownership proportion of museums, and the government’s investment and intervention in museums are also different. “American art museums are primarily private institutions that are endowed with public status, while most of that in Europe are civic or national institutions.”In America, where free market, free competition, and private property are valued, 59% of museums are set up by private institutions and 41% of museums are by all levels of governments. America has been a country without the ministry of culture since the Kennedy Administration, as the government believes that it can only play a limited, indirect and marginal role in the cultural field and that an administrative organization of officials and systems will turn art into a system, generating administrative department system, which is not good for the vitality of creation and the freedom of the artist. At the same time, it is thought that only the construction of art museums with mainly private capital can guarantee the freedom, vitality, and diversity of the American cultural system. Therefore, American art museums have about the highest proportion of private museums compared with other types of museums. Whether private or public art museums, almost all the museums (especially art museums) are built on private donations. Whether private or public art museums, all of that enjoy the national public welfare policy of assisting cultural and artistic undertakings – 501(c)  ( Tax exemption for non-profit organizations by the U.S. Federal Government ),  are actually “public-owned, public-operated” non-profit organizations. The central government of the United States does not directly fund culture and art enterprises, but through intermediary social organizations such as the national foundation, to selectively reflect its support for cultural and art cause within the specified scope (generally 10%, no more than 50% of the project). Cities, states, counties and others subsidizing art museums have nothing to do with whether the art museum is public or private. In this case, most of the financial resources required by the art museum come from society. Even if the state-owned art museums are not subject to governmental control, the government will act as a public spokesperson to exert pressure on the art museums when their activities deviate from the track (for example, when it involves human rights and ethnic issues). Regarding international cultural exchange, for instance, MoMA, as an independent private museum, not only plays a central role in the dissemination of modern art but actually undertook a mission to defend the overall interests of the United States. This is because when the US government cannot fulfill its responsibility due to opposition lawmakers in the Congress, the museums and some public foundations with partisan neutrality can continue to carry out the work initially started by the state department. Although many of these foundations may receive funds, even secret funds from CIA, or MoMA’s management may also overlap with the personnel of the state council, such as Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, who served successively as the president of MoMA and deputy secretary of state, and the Rockefeller Foundation has been the central supporting agency of MoMA for a long time. René d’ Harnoncourt, former director of MoMA, once was in charge of the art department of the American division of the state department. In France, a grant traditional culture country, cultural rights are regarded as the fundamental rights of the country as well as basic civil rights. The cultural administrative organization of the central government, the ministry of culture and communications, directly manages French cultural affairs by signing contracts with cultural institutions and groups, and most expenses of French cultural institutions and groups come from direct state grants. As a result, France’s non-profit art museums are mostly directly under the state and are largely at the mercy of the government.Different from the United States which has no central government department of culture, and also different from France which is under the administration of the ministry of culture assigning government officials from the central to the local, the United Kingdom uniformly funds and manages the national cultural affairs through the non-governmental public culture institutions (quasi-official organizations). All of the country’s large cultural units, such as the British Museum, National Gallery, British Library and other organizations, operated independently and not directly under the ministry of culture, news and sports. Specific affairs are assigned to non-governmental public cultural institutions, such as Arts Council England, Arts and Crafts Association, Museums and Art Museums Association, and other organizations composed of experts, who are responsible for evaluating and allocating funds to various culture units. The government used indirect management to avoid excessive administrative intervention in art museums to prevent corruption, but at the same time, it was not wholly disengaged and lack of macro-control and planning, with its funding proportion apparently higher than that in the United States.Actually, no matter who is the owner of the art museum, and either through the governmental control (France), the policy guidance that helps guarantee the funding source (US), or the indirect interventions from non-profit organizations (UK), the US, UK and France all preserve the character of the art museum as a non-profit organization with different systems and methods, and also ensures the neutrality of the art museum in religion and politics. For China, realizing the independence and neutrality of the art museum is to gain a lubricant for national and social development, which can internally alleviate many social problems caused by rapid economic growth. For example, one clear aim of London’s National Gallery is by encouraging the poor and the rich to “discover their common nature” so as to “cement the government order that binds the two classes together”. Externally, art museums can help China integrate quickly into global culture. Of course, there is no denying that on this issue, Chinese art museums have different backgrounds from those of western European developed countries, and thus, considering the experience of the West and adjusting ideas of developing Chinese characteristics are all in the scope of our discussion.The Authority of the Intellect ProductionDiffering from the term “Knowledge”—obtain truth or information through experience and education, the term “Intellect” refers to the logic and ability to judge things and resolve contradictions. It comes from ancient Greek and philosophically is connected to the science of how people recognize things while psychologically it describes the highest level of people’s rational knowledge of the world.In the section of “The History of the Art Museum”, we cite the research of Conn. S to introduce that the museum – as a way of people understanding the world at the end of the 19th century – has become a source of human intellect and value, and its once-owned irreplaceability. At the same time, we explain the reasons why the branch of the museum – art museum became unique in the process of decline in the museum’s intellect system in the 20th century. The authority of the art museum in intellect production is complementary to the other three properties of the art museum. It is authoritative because of its “social and cultural durability”, “democracy, publicity and non-profit character” and “religious and political neutrality”. Only by ensuring the three properties of the art museum, can its authority be fully reflected and its functions for humanity, nation, state and society be brought into full play. J. Wood states in the article of “The Academic Authority of the American Art Museums” that “art museums represent eight authorities: nurture, professionalism, hierarchy, memory, preservation, architecture, mission and leadership”. Among them, there are the emotional and psychological authority, such as “nurture, memory, mission”, etc., which not only represents the cold image of the art museum as the temple of the times or the holy land of art worship, but also represents the beautiful complex of the art museum as the habitat of human spirit. Alfred H.Barr Jr once proposed in 1944 that “the displayed objects of museums must be authoritative representations of the various departments of the museum to the audience. They become a permanent and clear demonstration of art museums’ core activities, operation range, judgment standards, tastes and values, working principle and faith in art.” As David Carr said in “Museum News” in 2011, “museums are institutions that convey the influence, value and authority. Its inherent influence comes from the treasures of its collections and the mastery of knowledge and information.”  While Michael Kimmelman wrote in the “New York Times” in 2001 that “art museums must re-examine their authority on the definition of beauty in order to recover the value of art.” What we are talking about here is the authority of intellect production, such as “hierarchy, professionalism and leadership” and so on. In this book, we summarize the authority of intellect in three aspects.Firstly, in the history of art development, even if art museums are not really judges of art standards, they are a key deciding factor of why art has become art, although such authority tends to weaken nowadays. Our surroundings present themselves through a certain form, while the only purpose of art is to show this form. That is why in the process of realizing the value of art, being observed is an indispensable step. As the art museum mainly takes the role as the public space for art appreciation, it has ensured its central position in art ecology and human intellect production during the development of the museum. The German scholar, Hans Belting has declared the integral position of art museums in the establishment of art standards from another perspective. He thinks that art has “a universal validity that is not affected by the times”, and “art, like human rights, is eternal and general”. A single art does not constitute such a force and only when art enters art history can those “arts” that forms art history have this power. And invented by human beings, the art museum is a place where all the individual arts can share the universal principles of art. Cuba’s contemporary curator, Gerardo Mosquera, has said, the value assessment of contemporary art is highly dependent on the circulation of art, the promoted major networks as well as these networks’ ability to accept or reject them. Of course, we do not deny that art history is not created by art museums independently, but by the critical discourse mechanism (art museum, art gallery, college and market) and various public media together. Today, foundations, arts economics, art consultants and artists themselves become the co-builders of credibility and standards in art production. Because of this, we can clearly find that the art museum with publicity, democracy, non-profit character, independence, and neutrality is not only an important part of it but also highlights its authority due to its stance in the process. That is why even “in the field of art, the artists of the 1960s had abandoned art museums, and Avant-Garde (Minimalism, Land Art and Conceptual Art) artists all explicitly stated that art museums were tombs of art”. In the art theory circle, from Arthur Danto’s “The End of Art” to Hans Belting’s “Non-museum theory”, and then to the “Museum Skepticism – A History of the Display of Art in Public Galleries” wrote by David Carrier, a famous American contemporary art theorists, all refer to the death of artworks that separated from society, history and reality after entering the art museum. Even so, being collected, exhibited and published by art museums has long been seen as a measure of the value of artworks – because “a civilization without a tomb is unthinkable (Chen Danqing)”. Moreover, just as Boris Groys considers that the museum is “a machine producing and showing today’s new art – that is, a machine that produces today itself”. The nature of the museum – seeking new, distinguishing new, establishing new and collecting new, has made “the museum system not only not come to an end but become eternally renewed in today when art and art history are ‘terminated’”. Second, in the development of contemporary art museums, the enhanced tendency of paying attention to present artistic creation and evolution, increasingly activated some rigid restrictions on artworks by art museums in the “theory of art museums were tombs of art”, and made contemporary museums become a huge experimental field for idea, criticism, suggestion, creation, and unceasing redefinition, “through collaboration and convergence with other fields and disciplines – from literature, music, architecture, drama to social and economic activities……a new world is being constantly imagined, conceived, formed, tested and questioned”. For example, the time-honored British Museum attaches great importance to keeping pace with the current art world and expects to establish a relationship of historical inheritance, digging out its classic collection and their traditional value. One example is that in 2011, British Museum commissioned Xu Bing to create the work “Background Story 7”, which employed contemporary media (mostly waste) to create an installation inspired by a Chinese landscape painting by Wang Shimin of the Qing Dynasty from the museum’s collection. Thus, the art museum became the best place to publish the cutting-edge works of the times, which, along with the exploration of the newest art form, is also in line with the public’s expectations for the authority of art museums. These artistic creations, which are continually updated with the changing trend of the times, must undergo periodic precipitation to identify their value, and the art museum is just such a purification mechanism. At the same time, many new trends of contemporary artistic creation and dissemination, such as cross-discipline, interactivity, multimedia, digitalization, and others provided many new opportunities for art museums to support the development of art – especially through the construction of the public service platform of the artists. This kind of “initiative” can constitute a guiding force for art, culture and society, which is precisely the embodiment of the authority of the art museum. In addition, the art museum can be said to have established the material culture of society. The collection, classification and exhibition of exhibits should be understood as the exercise of power. Every installation or display of the collection is an attempt to give an interpretation of the collection, an understanding of the art history, and most importantly, an exposition of the art museum as a center of wisdom and art activities. The idea of establishing an art museum provided an environment and also works that can support this idea; thus a center of intellect, culture and social activities is born. This kind of intellect means that art museums enable people to pay more attention to their surroundings by stimulating them to think and communicate. That is to say, the work of the art museum is based on its own cultural consciousness and value concept. In the process of describing and shaping art phenomenon, the art museum studied, carded and refined material culture mode that formed by social development to produce a more substantial work, and spread it to the public through public space and platform with extensive influence. It cultivates the public’s appreciation and understanding of art, thus to form a force to promote social consensus, which is also the source of the cultural initiative of art museums that we emphasize.Based on the above descriptions, in order to further explain the problem, we take the Louvre Museum as an example to analyze the birth of the intellect authority of the art museum. Since its establishment, the Louvre Museum has existed as a public cultural resource. The artistic treasures left by the French dynasties (mainly Bourbon Dynasty at that time) represent the highest art standards of the French people in each period and reflect the historical and cultural features as well as the social development of France in each period. The staff of the museum classified and arranged the collection according to the development of art schools and styles. With full consideration of the convenience of public communication, they enabled the Louvre Museum to become an art collection store and archives of art research for the common material and cultural heritage of mankind, indicating that the museum is independent of thinking and no longer subject to any sectarian regime. The Louvre Museum has preserved the best cultural traditions of France, and its vivid presentation has benefited generations of French people and even visitors from all over the world. With its existence, the museum has shown the unique value of French culture to the world. To this day, the Louvre Museum has become synonymous with France and a symbol of French culture and even the advanced modern culture of the world. If the artworks in the Louvre Museum are only taken as the aesthetic objects, as the specific presentation of aesthetic experience and artistic taste, then the loss of the meaning of these artworks will be significant. At that time, there were numerous collections accumulated by the French royal families and nobles. Which collections were displayed, how to display them, together with which collections and where to display them, how to promote them – all these choices and judgments still influence the relevant work of the museum today. From ancient times to the Renaissance, ancient Greece, ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, collections were arranged by time and region. In the large three-story gallery space on the south side of the Louvre Museum, highlighted the masterpieces of French historical painting of the late 18th and 19th centuries, including Jacques Louis David’s “Oath of the Horatii”(1784-1785), “The Death of Marat” (1793),  “Napoleon Crossing the St. Bernard Pass” (1801), “Napoleon Holding Josephine's Crown” (1804-1807), and Eugène Delacroi’s “Liberty Leading the People” (1831), and so on. It can be seen that France, which is known as an inclusive country of world culture, has not forgotten to highlight its historical glory in its art museums. The choice made on the basis of ensuring professionalism is subjective and biased, and the result of choice eventually becomes an objective and universal art history. These works reflect the national spirit of France and also confirm the history of France heading towards modern times since the French Revolution. They are displayed forever in the Louvre Museum and become the most important classics to attract visitors and researchers. This is by no means a random act, but an expression of the will of the art museum, which shows the cultural position and intention of the collector (collection institution). The knowledge that museums intend to disseminate is not, in essence, neutral. Intellect is a social product that reflects the power relations in our society. Art museums spread beauty and culture, but what is beauty and what kind of culture should be inherited? The judgment of art museums on these issues essentially constitute cultural privilege or even economic privilege. As a result, the art museum has become the perfect place to study the interlaced history of power and cultural forms. In terms of contemporary art museums, because the value judgment of modern art is often accompanied by controversy and variable, compared to those classical art museums with conclusive masterworks that entered into art history, contemporary art museums or the contemporary departments of art museums play more the role of a forum rather than a referee. When the modern art museum becomes a place to listen to different voices, it was these rich and diverse voices that rendered them to be evaluated at a certain stage. Therefore, the authority of the art museum runs through its whole process. In fact, since the middle 1960s, institutional criticism has become an important trend in post-modern practice. The social and political unrest of the 1960s has led artists to question institutional values, including the value of museums, and many essential artists have used their works to reveal the ideology implied in museum narratives. Then, by the late 1980s and early 1990s, artists were more involved in the work content of art museums and tried to raise public awareness of the power system within cultural institutions. Just because art is such a creation and activity that seeks innovation, change and controversy, and while promoting this kind of creation, the art museum becomes an embracer questioning the intellect system of the museum, making the authority of the art museum avoid being limited to a rigid authority. The authority of intellect production possessed by art museums, in an open and democratic society, is acquired through the influence on the public, and there is no absolute authority anymore. The power of the art museum is established on the basis of publicity. The way that art museums convey authority is also through a process of professional sharing to the public (non-professional) receiving and then to public judgment. The most straight appearance of the art museum is that it can affect the value of artworks – not the pricing power, so it can be easily abused and thus lead to the loss of authority. To have a authority in the democratic society, museums must be creative in maintaining the relationship between showing professionalism and questioning assumptions and even be brave to take the initiative to find the fallacy in their own systems. Art museums need to exploit their authority as wisely as possible to inspire pure aesthetic experience, or they will lose their imagination and thus their authority. However, some characteristics of the ecological development of Western contemporary art are weakening the power of the art museum as intellect producers. In this era of art change, in fact, our base, position, resource, system and other foundations are very different from international art museums. According to our situation of the socialism with Chinese characteristics, how to construct an art museum feature that is independent of the market and neutral out of the system, and make this feature serve the public, we will discuss further in the following chapters. ...More

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