Friday, March 15, 2013

Chinese Art at the Whitney Gallery

The Sun
(New York)
Whitney Gallery Is Open to Public
Painting of Famous Chinese Artists Will Be on View Until May 1.
Varied Art Collection
Birds, Small Animals, Flowers and Tree Trunks Shown on Many Canvases.

A great change has been effected by Mrs. Harry Payne [Gertrude Vanderbilt] Whitney in her art gallery on West Eight street. The rapid work of the “Indigenous” Americans has been removed to make way for the still more rapid impressions of some artists of modern China. The galleries are completely filled with interesting and artistic kakemonos brought to this country recently by Mrs. Francis Ayscough of Shanghai, China.

The subjects are variations upon the themes familiar to students of Chinese painting—birds, flowers, tree trunks and philosophers gazing from mountain tops into space. They were painted before the Boxer troubles, which in a way put a period to old Chinese philosophy, and although they betray traces of modern restlessness they still conform to the old ideals. The brush work is dextrous and sure and is always made to serve an idea. The color schemes of course are charming and the birds and little animals are often drawn with great humor.

Among the artists represented are Jen Po-Nien, a native of Shaohsing, who died in 1895. It was he who painted the charming picture of the Mandarin ducks, supposed to be inseparable, and hence held by the Chinese as symbols of happy married life. The picture contains some beautifully studied lotus leaves and reeds in addition to the ducks.

Another of these distinguished modern Chinese artists is Hsu-Ku, who painted continually while attached as priest to the great temple of the God of War in Shanghai; and still another of these artists was Wang Shu.

The exhibition, which is unusual and interesting, will remain on public view until March 1.

(click images to enlarge)

The Sun
Mrs. Whitney Shows Modern Chinese Art

(Next post March 22: Chin Yin)

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