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Celebrating visual power of Baoshi

Updated: 2015-01-27 09:46:15

( China Daily )

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Yan'an, by Fu Baoshi, is on display in the Allow Me to Meticulously Depict the Land show in Beijing. Photo provided to China Daily

Though his late works reflect the "serving the people, serving politics" requirement for art after 1949, Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) retained a highly personal style. The signature "Baoshi wrinkle" strokes and dramatic composition make his paintings stand out among other works of his time.

An exhibition now showing at the National Art Museum of China showcases Fu's distinctive career as a modern master of Chinese landscapes, which parallels his remarkable portrayals of ancient figures. Some 80 paintings, drawn from the holdings of the Nanjing Museum, stand as testaments to how Fu incorporated Western painting skills to reform traditional ink-and-water in the nearly last two decades of his life.

The show title, Allow Me to Meticulously Depict the Land, originates from a painting by the same name, from the NAMOC collection and included in the display.

The show navigates the painter's path of transformation that included six fruitful art travels from the 1950s to '60s. He achieved breakthroughs in expanding traditional brush skills; he also built up an individualist vocabulary of imagery under the special political conditions at that time.

The Xuanwu Lake in the Moonlight represents Fu's early efforts to modernize inking techniques. The work resulted from his sketching travels in the 1950s, covering areas neighboring Nanjing, Jiangsu province, where he resided for a couple of years and where scenery recurred as his favorite subject matter.

In this painting he lessened the usage of "cun" or "wrinkle" strokes and dabs, adopting instead watercolor techniques to create the forms. The result is a refreshing and moist texture that reflects the tranquility on the lake at night.

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