Fu Baoshi: Chinese Art in an Age of Revolution

The works of the famous Chinese artist and historian will be on display at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of in an exhibition entitled “Chinese in an Age of Revolution: (1904-1965).” The New York Times’ Art Review has published a digital gallery of his works, along with an explanation of the artist and his historical context:

The painter Fu Baoshi was born in China in 1904, seven years before the Chinese Revolution brought 2,100 years of dynastic rule to an end. He died in 1965, months before China’s Communist regime unleashed the Cultural Revolution, which aggressively persecuted the country’s writers, artists and other intelligentsia, sometimes unto death.

Fu, a fervent devotee of the ancient tradition of Chinese brush-and-ink painting, as well as an art historian and exceptionally skilled seal carver, often walked a kind of tightrope through the tumultuous times that came in between: the internecine power struggles following the Chinese Revolution of 1911; the upheavals of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45; and the Communists’ final triumph, after a bloody civil war, in 1949.

His trajectory is the subject of an intriguing up-and-down survey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It suggests that Fu, who came from very humble circumstances and was largely self-taught, was sustained by exceptional talent and a steely yet flexible dedication to his art. His skill and refinement, as well as his willingness to adapt, pervade this show, which is serene on the surface but less so beneath.

January 27, 2012 11:35 PM
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