Xu Beihong, A Master and his Masters
Updated: 2014-05-06 18:01
The exhibition wishes to shed light on the importance of French academic art in the life and work of the great master of Chinese modern art, Xu Beihong (1895-1953). Works of the Chinese master are displayed alongside French art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Sixty Chinese masterpieces are paired with as many French paintings, offering an exceptional overview that illustrates Xu Beihong’s choice of France, French fine arts teaching and French academic art. Indeed, as early as the 1910’s, Xu Beihong elects France, in which he sees the proper model for the modernization of Chinese culture. In 1919, Xu Beihong leaves for Paris where he will study fine arts and the French educational system for the arts. At the École nationale des beaux-arts de Paris, the young man is on a path to excellence. Fully fluent in French, he passes in 1921 the forbidding entrance examination. With his reputation already solidly established in China for traditional ink painting, Xu Beihong perfects his knowledge and practical mastery of Western art. His preoccupations go mostly to drawings from nature and the production of inspired and lifelike oil paintings. On his return to China, Xu Beihong draws extensively from his experience at the École nationale des beaux-arts de Paris to design contemporary China’s educational system for the arts.
May 8, 2014 – January 2015, Beijing World Art Museum, Beijing